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Wilhelm Reich 

Writing in the years 1930-33, Reich applies his theories of human character-structure 
to dissecting and analysing what he realised was the menacing social situation. Fascism, 
he argues, does not spring exclusively either from the economic factors, or from the 
activities of political leaders. Much rather, it is the collective expression of average 
human beings, whose primary biological needs have been ruthlessly crushed by an 
authoritarian and sexually inhibited society. Any form of organised mysticism, such as 
the authoritarian family or church, feeds on the longings of the masses, he concludes, 
and we must be forced to realise its potential destructiveness. 

Banned by the Nazis The Mass Psychology of Fascism is a brilliant and prophetic 
document which reveals Reich at his penetrating best. 


In the first English-language edition of The Mass Psychology of Fascism, which 
appeared in 1946, Reich stated that his sex-economic theory, applied to the study of 
fascism, had ‘stood the test of time’. Now, almost forty years after the publication of the 
first edition in German, this new, more exact, translation is being presented with every 
indication that it is not merely a work of historical interest but that it continues to ‘ stand 
the test of time’. Actually, in the violent struggle that is taking place today between the 
forces of repression and natural self-regulation, there is clear evidence that the validity of 
Reich’s concepts is more firmly rooted than ever before. An attempt at a refutation of 
their essential correctness must now contend with the knowledge of the physical orgone 
energy, the common functioning principle applicable to all biological and social 
phenomena. As extravagant as that may sound, and as fanciful as the discovery itself may 
appear, it can be predicted that it will continue to resist irrational rejection derived from 
rumouring, disinterest and mechanistic misinterpretation, as well as equally irrational 
mystical acceptance or fragmentary selection, which arbitrarily draws the line between 
what is or is not desirable. The latter problem is particularly troublesome because of the 
rampant tendency to judge Reich’s work on the basis of one’s own narrow interests and 
prejudices, without any capacity to follow into unknown realms of knowledge. For 
example, there is much evidence that the dissident young, despite Reich’s warning not to 
use his discoveries politically, are eager to grasp certain portions of his early work for 
their own purposes, while simultaneously discounting its logical development into the 
biological and physical realm. It is no more possible to separate Reich’s early work in the 
mental hygiene movement and his study of human character structure from his later, 
crucial discovery of the Life Energy than it is to separate the animal man from life itself. 
If The Mass Psychology of Fascism is ever to be understood and utilized in a practical 
way, if ‘thwarted’ life is ever to free itself and peace and love to become more than 
empty slogans, the existence and functioning of the Life Energy must be acknowledged 
and understood. No matter how much it is ridiculed and ailed at, it cannot be ignored if 
man is ever to come to grips with the hitherto mysterious forces within himself. 

In this particular work Reich has applied his clinical knowledge of human character 
structure to the social and political scene. He firmly repudiates the notion that fascism is 
the ideology or action of a single individual or nationality; or of any ethnic or political 
group. He also denies a purely socio-economic explanation as advanced by Marxian 
ideologists. He understands fascism as the expression of the irrational character structure 
of the average human being whose primary, biological needs and impulses have been 
suppressed for thousands of years. The social function of this suppression and the crucial 
role played in it by the authoritarian family and the church are carefully analysed. Reich 
shows how every form of organized mysticism, including fascism, relies on the 
unsatisfied orgastic longing of the masses. 

The importance of this work today cannot be underestimated. The human character 
structure that created organized fascist movements still exists, dominating our present 
social conflicts. If the chaos and agony of our time are ever to be eliminated, we must 
turn our attention to the character structure that creates them; we must understand the 
mass psychology of fascism. 

New York, 1 970 
Mary Higgins, Trustee 
The Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust Fund 

Preface to the Third Edition, Revised and Enlarged 

Extensive and painstaking therapeutic work on the human character has led me to the 
conclusion that, as a rule, we are dealing with three different layers of the biopsychic 
structure in the evaluation of human reactions. As I demonstrated in my book Character- 
Analysis, these layers of the character structure are deposits of social development, which 
function autonomously. On the surface layer of his personality the average man is 
reserved, polite, compassionate, responsible, and conscientious. There would be no social 
tragedy of the human animal if this surface layer of the personality were in direct contact 
with the deep natural core. This, unfortunately, is not the case. The surface layer of social 
cooperation is not in contact with the deep biologic core of one’s selfhood; it is borne 
second, an intermediate character layer, which consists exclusively of cruel, sadistic, 
lascivious, rapacious and envious impulses. It represents the Freudian ‘unconscious’ or 
‘what is repressed’ ; to put it in the language of sex-economy, it represents the sum total 
of all so-called ‘secondary drives’. 

Orgone biophysics made it possible to comprehend the Freudian unconscious, that 
which is anti-social in man, as a secondary result of the repression of primary biologic 
urges. If one penetrates through this second layer of perversion, deeper into the biologic 
substratum of the human animal, one always discovers the third, deepest, layer, which we 
call the biologic core. In this core, under favourable social conditions, man is an 
essentially honest, industrious, cooperative, loving, and, if motivated, rationally hating 
animal. Yet it is not at all possible to bring about a loosening of the character structure of 
present-day man by penetrating to this deepest and so promising layer without first 
eliminating the non-genuine, spuriously social surface. Drop the mask of cultivation, and 

it is not natural sociality that prevails at first, but only the perverse, sadistic character 

It is this unfortunate structuralization that is responsible for the fact that every natural, 
social or libidinous impulse that wants to spring into action from the biologic core has to 
pass through the layer of secondary perverse drives and is thereby distorted. This 
distortion transforms the original social nature of the natural impulses and makes it 
perverse, thus inhibiting every genuine expression of life. 

Let us now transpose our human structure into the social and political sphere. 

It is not difficult to see that the various political and ideological groupings of human 
society correspond to the various layers of the structure of the human character. We, 
however, decline to accept the error of idealistic philosophy, namely that this human 
structure is immutable to all eternity. After social conditions and changes have 
transmuted man’s original biologic demands and made them a part of his character 
structure , the latter reproduces the social structure of society in the form of ideologies. 

Since the breakdown of the primitive work-democratic form of social organization, the 
biologic core of man has been without social representation. The ‘natural’ and ‘sublime’ 
in man, that which links him to his cosmos, has found genuine expression only in great 
works of art, especially in music and in painting. Until now, however, it has not exercised 
a fundamental influence on the shaping of human society, if by society we mean the 
community of mankind and not the culture of a small, rich upper class. 

In the ethical and social ideals of liberalism we recognize the advocacy of the 
characteristics of the surface layer of the character, which is intent upon self-control and 
tolerance. This liberalism lays stress upon its ethics for the purpose of holding in 
suppression the ‘monster in man’, our layer of ‘secondary drives’, the Freudian 
‘unconscious’. The natural sociabilility of the deepest third layer, the core layer, is 
foreign to the liberal. He deplores the perversion of the human character and seeks to 
overcome it by means of ethical norms, but the social catastrophes of the twentieth 
century show that he did not get very far with this approach. 

Everything that is genuinely revolutionary; every genuine art and science, stems from 
man’s natural biologic core. Thus far, neither the genuine revolutionary nor the artist nor 
scientist has won favour with masses of people and acted as the leader, or if he has, he 
has not been able to hold them in the sphere of vital interest for any length of time. 

The case of fascism, in contrast to liberalism and genuine revolution, is quite different. 
Its essence embodies neither the surface nor the depth, but by and large the second, inter- 
mediate character layer of secondary drives. 

When this book was first written, fascism was generally regarded as a ‘political party’, 
which, as other ‘social groups’, advocated an organized ‘political idea’. According to this 
appraisal ‘the fascist party was instituting fascism by means of force or through “political 

Contrary to this, my medical experiences with men and women of various classes, 
races, nations, religious beliefs, etc., taught me that ‘fascism’ is only the organized 
political expression of the structure of the average man’s character, a structure that is 
confined neither to certain races or nations nor to certain parties, but is general and 
international. Viewed with respect to man’s character, fascism’ is the basic emotional 

attitude of the suppressed man of our authoritarian machine civilisation and its 
mechanistic-mystical conception of life. 

It is the mechanistic-mystical character of modern man that produces fascist parties, 
and not vice versa. 

The result of erroneous political thinking is that even today fascism is conceived as a 
specific national characteristic of the Germans or the Japanese. All further erroneous 
interpretations follow from this initial erroneous conception. 

To the detriment of genuine efforts to achieve freedom, fascism was and is still 
conceived as the dictatorship of a small reactionary clique. The tenacity with which this 
error persists is to be ascribed to our fear of recognizing the true state of affairs: fascism 
is an international phenomenon, which pervades all bodies of human society of all 
nations. This conclusion is in agreement with the international events of the past fifteen 

My character-analytic experiences have convinced me that there is not a single 
individual who does not bear the elements of fascist feeling and thinking in his structure. 
As a political movement fascism differs from other reactionary parties inasmuch as it is 
borne and championed by masses of people. 

I am fully conscious of the enormous responsibility involved in making such an 
assertion. And in the interest of this lacerated world I should like the toiling masses to be 
just as clear about their responsibility for fascism. 

A sharp distinction must be made between ordinary militarism and fascism. 
Wilhelmian Germany was militaristic, but it was not fascistic. 

Since fascism, whenever and wherever it makes its appearance, is a movement borne 
by masses of people, it betrays all the characteristics and contradictions present in the 
character structure of the mass individual. It is not, as is commonly believed, a purely 
reactionary movement - it represents an amalgam between rebellious emotions and 
reactionary social ideas. 

If we conceive of being revolutionary as the rational rebellion against intolerable 
conditions in human society, the rational will ‘to get to the root of all things’ (‘radical’ = 
‘radic’ = ‘root’) and to improve them, then fascism is never revolutionary. It can of 
course appear in the guise of revolutionary emotions. But it is not the physician who 
tackles a disease with reckless invectives whom we call revolutionary, but the one who 
examines the causes of the disease quietly, courageously and painstakingly, and fights it. 
Fascist rebelliousness always accrues where a revolutionary emotion, out of fear of the 
truth, is distorted into illusion. 

In its pure form fascism is the sum total of all the irrational of the average human 
character. To the obtuse sociologist who lacks the mettle to recognize the supreme role 
played by irrationality in the history of man, the fascist racial theory appears to be 
nothing more than an imperialistic interest, or, more mildly speaking, a ‘prejudice’. The 
same holds true for the irresponsible glib politician. The scope and widespread 
dissemination of these ‘racial prejudices’ are evidence of their origin in the irrational part 
of the human character. The racial theory is not a product of fascism. On the contrary: it 
is fascism that is a product of racial hatred and is its politically organized expression. It 
follows from this that there is a German, Italian, Spanish, Anglo-Saxon, Jewish and 

Arabian fascism. Race ideology is a pure biopathic expression of the character structure 
of the orgastically impoten t man. 

The sadistically perverse character of race ideology is also betrayed in its attitude 
towards religion. Fascism is supposed to be a reversion to paganism and an archenemy of 
religion. Far from it - fascism is the supreme expression of religious mysticism. As such, 
it comes into being in a peculiar social form. Fascism countenances that religiosity that 
stems from sexual perversion, and it transforms the masochistic character of the old 
patriarchal religion of suffering into a sadistic religion. In short, it transposes religion 
from the ‘other-worldliness’ of the philosophy of suffering to the ‘this worldliness’ of 
sadistic murder. 

Fascist mentality is the mentality of the ‘little man’, who is enslaved and craves 
authority and is at the same time rebellious. It is no coincidence that all fascist dictators 
stem from the reactionary milieu of the little man. The industrial magnate and the feudal 
militarist exploit this social fact for their own purposes, after it has evolved within the 
framework of the general suppression of life-impulses. In the form of fascism, 
mechanistic, authoritarian civilization reaps from the suppressed little man only what it 
has sown in the masses of subjugated human beings in the way of mysticism, militarism, 
automatism, over the centuries. This little man has studied the big man’s behaviour all 
too well, and he reproduces it in a distorted and grotesque fashion. The fascist is the drill 
sergeant in the colossal army of our deeply sick, highly industrialized civilization. It is 
not with impunity that the hullabaloo of high politics is made a show of in front of the 
little man. The little sergeant has surpassed the imperialistic general in everything: in 
martial music; in goose-stepping; in commanding and obeying; in cowering before ideas; 
in diplomacy, strategy and tactic; in dressing and parading; in decorating and 
‘honourating’. A Kaiser Wilhelm was a miserable duffer in all these things compared 
with the famished civil servant’s son, Hitler. When a ‘proletarian’ general pins his chest 
full of medals, he gives a demonstration of the little man who will not be ‘outclassed’ by 
the ‘genuine’ big general. 

An extensive and thorough study of the suppressed little man’s character, an intimate 
knowledge of his backstage life, are indispensable prerequisites to an understanding of 
the forces fascism builds upon. 

In the rebellion of vast numbers of abused human animals against the hollow civilities 
of false liberalism (not to fee mistaken with genuine liberalism and genuine tolerance), it 
was the character layer, consisting of secondary drives, that appeared. 

The fascist madman cannot be made innocuous if he is sought, according to the 
prevailing political circumstances, only in the German or the Italian and not in the 
American and the Chinese man as well; if he is not tracked down in oneself; if we are not 
conversant with the social institutions that hatch him daily. 

Fascism can be crushed only if it is countered objectively and practically, with a well- 
grounded knowledge of life’s processes. In political manoeuvre, acts of diplomacy and 
making a show, ; it is without peer. But it has no answer to the practical questions life, 
for it sees everything merely in the speculum of or in the shape of the national uniform. 

When a fascist character, regardless of hue, is heard sermonizing the ‘honour of the 
nation’ (instead of talking about honour of man) or the ‘salvation of the sacred family and 

the race’ (instead of the community of toiling mankind); when he is seen puffing himself 
up and has his chops full of slogans, let him be asked quietly and simply in public: 

‘What are you doing in a practical way to feed the nation, without murdering other 
nations? What are you doing as a physician to combat chronic diseases, what as an 
educator to intensify the child’s joy of living, what as an economist to erase poverty, 
what as a social worker to alleviate the weariness of mothers having too many children, 
what as an architect to promote hygienic conditions in living quarters? Let’s have no 
more of your chatter. Give us a straightforward concrete answer or shut up!’ 

It follows from this that international fascism will never be overcome by political 
manoeuvre. It will fall victim to the natural organization of work, love and knowledge on 
an international scale. 

In our society, love and knowledge still do not have the power at their disposal to 
regulate human existence. In fact, these great forces of the positive principle of life are 
not conscious of their enormity, their indispensability, their overwhelming importance for 
social existence. It is for this reason that human society today, one year after the military 
victory over party fascism, still finds itself on the brink of the abyss. The fall of our 
civilization is inevitable if those who work, the natural scientists of all living (not dead) 
branches of knowledge and the givers and receivers of natural love, should not become 
conscious of their enormous responsibility quickly enough. 

The life-impulse can exist without fascism, but fascism cannot exist without the life- 
impulse. Fascism is the vampire leeched to the body of the living, the impulse to murder 
given free reign, when love calls for fulfilment in spring. 

Will individual and social freedom, will the self-regulation of our lives and of the lives 
of our offspring, advance peacefully or violently? It is a fearful question. No one knows 
the answer. 

Yet, he who understands the living functions in an animal and in a newborn babe, he 
who knows the meaning of devoted work, be he a mechanic, researcher or artist, knows. 
He ceases to think with the concepts that party manipulators have spread in this world. 
The life-impulse cannot ‘seize power violently’, for it would not know what to do with 
power. Does this conclusion mean that the life-impulse will always be at the mercy of 
political gangsterism, will always be its victim, its martyr? Does it mean that the would- 
be politician will always suck life’s blood? This would be a false conclusion. 

As a physician it is my job to heal diseases. As a researcher I must shed light upon 
unknown relationships in nature. Now if a political windbag should come along and try to 
force me to leave my patients in the lurch and to put aside my microscope, I would not let 
myself be inconvenienced. I would simply throw him out, if he refused to leave 
voluntarily. Whether I have to use force against intruders to protect my work on life does 
not depend on me or on my work, but on the intruders’ degree of insolence. But just 
imagine now that all those who are engaged in vital living work could recognize the 
political windbag in time. They would act in the same way. Perhaps this simplified 
example contains some intimation of the answer to the question how the life-impulse will 
have to defend itself sooner or later against intruders and destroyers. 

The Mass Psychology of Fascism was thought out during the German crisis years, 
1930-33. It was written in 1933; the first edition appeared in September of 1933 and the 
second edition in April of 1934, in Denmark. 

Ten years have elapsed since then. The book’s exposure of the irrational nature of the 
fascist ideology often received a far too enthusiastic acclaim from all political camps, an 
acclaim that was not based on accurate knowledge and did not lead to appropriate action. 
Copies of the book - sometimes pseudonymously - crossed the German border in large 
numbers. The illegal revolutionary movement in Germany accorded it a happy reception. 
For years it served as a source of contact with the German anti-fascist movement. The 
fascists banned the book in 1935, together with all literature on political psychology. 
Excerpts from it were printed in France, America, Czechoslovakia, Scandinavia and other 
countries, and it was discussed in detailed articles. Only the party Socialists, who viewed 
everything from an economic point of view, and the salaried party officials, who were in 
control of the organs of political power, did not and still do not know what to make of it. 
In Denmark and in Norway, for instance, it was severely attacked and denounced as 
‘counterrevolutionary’ by the leadership of the Communist party. It is significant, on the 
other hand, that the revolution-oriented youth from fascist groups understood the sex- 
economic explanation of the irrational nature of the racial theory. 

In 1942 an English source suggested that the book be translated into English. Thus I 
was confronted with the task of examining the validity of the book ten years after it was 
written. The result of this examination exactly reflects the stupendous revolution in 
thinking that had taken place over the course of the last decade. It is also a test of the 
tenableness of sex-economic sociology and its bearing on the social revolutions of our 
century. I had not had this book in my hands for a number of years. As I began to correct 
and enlarge it, I was stunned by the errors in thinking that I had made fifteen years 
before, by the revolutions in thought that had taken place and by the great strain the 
overcoming of fascism had put on science. 

To begin with, I could well afford to celebrate a great triumph. The sex-economic 
analysis of fascist ideology had not only held its own against the criticism of the time - its 
essential points were more than confirmed by the events of the past ten years. It outlived 
the downfall of the purely economic, vulgar conception of Marxism, with which the 
German Marxist parties had tried to cope with fascism. That a new edition is called for 
some ten years after its initial publication speaks in favour of Mass Psychology, None of 
the Marxist writings of the 19305, whose authors had denounced sex-economy, could 
make such a claim. 

My revision of the second edition reflects the revolution that had taken place in my 

Around 1930 I had no idea of the natural work-democratic relations of working men 
and women. The inchoate sex-economic insights into the formation of the human 
structure were inserted into the intellectual framework of Marxist parties. At that time I 
was active in liberal, socialist and communist cultural organizations and was regularly 
forced to make use of the conventional Marxist sociologic concepts in my expositions on 
sex-economy. Even then the enormous contradiction between sex-economic sociology 
and vulgar economism was brought out in embarrassing disputes with various party 
functionaries. As I still believed in the fundamental scientific nature of the Marxist 

parties, it was difficult for me to understand why the party members attacked the social 
effects of my medical work most sharply precisely when masses of employees, industrial 
workers, small businessmen, students, etc., thronged to the sex-economic organizations to 
obtain knowledge of living life. I shall never forget the ‘Red professor’ from Moscow 
who was ordered to attend one of the lectures in Vienna in 1928, to advocate the ‘party 
line’ against me. Among other things, this professor declared that ‘the Oedipus complex 
was all nonsense’, such a thing did not exist. Fourteen years later his Russian comrades 
bled to death under the tanks of the fuehrer-enslaved German machine-men. 

One should certainly have expected parties claiming to fight for human freedom to be 
more than happy about the effects of my political and psychological work. As the 
archives of our Institute convincingly show, the exact opposite was the case. The greater 
the social effects of our work on mass psychology, the harsher were the countermeasures 
adopted by the party politicians. As early as 1929-30, Austrian Social Democrats barred 
the doors of their cultural organizations to the lecturers from our organization. In 1932, 
notwithstanding the strong protest of their members, the socialist as well as communist 
organizations prohibited the distribution of the publications of the ‘Publishers for Sexual 
Polities’, which was located in Berlin. I myself was warned that I would be shot as soon 
as the Marxists came to power in Germany. That same year the communist organizations 
in Germany closed the doors of their assembly halls to physicians advocating sex- 
economy. This too was done against the will of the organizations’ members. I was 
expelled from both organizations on grounds that I had introduced sexology into 
sociology, and shown how it affects the formation of human structure. In the years 
between 1934 and 1937 it was always Communist party functionaries who warned fascist 
circles in Europe about the ‘hazard’ of sex-economy. This can be documentarily proven. 
Sex-economic publications were turned back at the Soviet Russian border, as were the 
throngs of refugees who were trying to save themselves from German fascism. There is 
no valid argument in justification of this. 

These events, which seemed so senseless to me at that time, became completely clear 
while revising The Mass Psychology of Fascism. Sex-economic-biologic knowledge had 
been compressed into the terminology of vulgar Marxism as an elephant into a foxhole. 
As early as 1938, while revising my ‘youth’ book, I noticed that every sex-economic 
word had retained its meaning after eight years, whereas every party slogan I had 
included in the book had become meaningless. The same holds true for the third edition 
of The Mass Psychology of fascism. 

It is generally clear today that ‘fascism’ is not the act of a Hitler or a Mussolini, but 
that it is the expression of the irrational structure of mass man. It is more clear today than 
it was ten years ago that the race theory is a biologic mysticism. We also have far more 
knowledge at our disposal, which enables us to understand man’s orgastic yearnings, and 
we have already begun to divine that fascist mysticism is orgastic yearning, restricted by 
tnystic distortion and inhibition of natural sexuality. The sex-economic statements about 
fascism are more valid today than they were ten years ago. On the other hand the Marxist 
party concepts used in this book had to be completely eliminated and replaced by new 

Does this mean that the Marxist economic theory is fundamentally false? I should like 
to answer this question with an illustration. Is the microscope of Pasteur’s time or the 

water pump constructed by Leonardo da Vinci, ‘false’? Marxism is a scientific theory of 
economy, which originated in the social conditions at the beginning and middle of the 
nineteenth century. But the social process did not stop there; it continued into the totally 
different process of the twentieth century. In this new social process we find all the 
essential features that existed in the nineteenth century, just as we rediscover the basic 
construction of the Paste urian microscope in the modern microscope, or da Vinci’s basic 
principle in modern water supply. Y et neither the Pasteurian microscope nor Leonardo da 
Vinci’s pump would be of any use to anybody today. They have become outdated as a 
result of the totally new processes and functions corresponding to a totally new 
conception and technology. The Marxist parties in Europe failed and came to naught (I 
don’t derive any malicious joy from saying that!) because they tried to comprehend 
twentieth-century fascism, which was something completely new, with concepts belong- 
ing to the nineteenth century. They lost their impetus as social organizations because they 
failed to keep alive and develop the vital possibilities inherent in every scientific theory. I 
have no regrets about the many years I spent as a physician in Marxist organizations. My 
knowledge of society does not derive from books; essentially it was acquired from my 
practical involvement in the fight of masses of people for a dignified and free existence. 

In fact, my best sex-economic insights were gained from the errors in thinking of these 
same masses of people, i.e., the very errors that made them ripe for the fascist plague. As 
a physician I got to know the international working man and his problems in a way that 
no party politician could have known him. The party politician saw only ‘the working 
class’, which he wanted ‘to infuse with class consciousness ‘. I saw man as a creature 
who had come under the domination of the worst possible social conditions, conditions 
he himself had created and bore within himself as a part of his character and from which 
he sought to free himself in vain. The gap between the purely economic and bio- 
sociologic views became unbridgeable. The theory of ‘class man’ on the one hand was 
set against the irrational nature of the society of the animal ‘man’ on the other hand. 

Everyone knows today that Marxist economic ideas have more or less infiltrated and 
influenced the thinking of modern man, yet very often individual economists and 
sociologists are not conscious of the source of their ideas. Such concepts as ‘class’, 
‘profit’, ‘exploitation’, ‘class conflict’, ‘commodity* and ‘surplus value’ have become 
common knowledge. For all that, today there is no party that can be regarded as the heir 
and living representative of the scientific wealth of Marxism, when it comes to the actual 
facts of sociological development and not to the slogans, which are no longer in 
agreement with their original import. 

In the years between 1937 and 1939 the new sex-economic concept ‘work-democracy’ 
was developed. The third edition of this book includes an exposition of the principal 
features of this new sociologic concept. It comprises the best, still valid, sociologic 
findings of Marxism. It also takes into account the social changes that have taken place in 
the concept ‘worker’ in the course of the last hundred years. I know from experience that 
it is the ‘sole representatives of the working class’ and the former and emerging ‘leaders 
of the international proletariat’ who will oppose this extension of the social concept of the 
worker on grounds that it is ‘fascist’,’ Trotskyian’, ‘counterrevolutionary’, ‘hostile to the 
party’, etc. Organizations of workers that exclude Negroes and practise Hitlerism do not 
deserve to be regarded as creators of a new and free society. Hitlerism, however, is not 
confined to the Nazi party or to the borders of Germany; it infiltrates workers’ organiza- 

tions as well as liberal and democratic circles. Fascism is not a political party but a 
specific concept of life and attitude towards man, love and work. This does not alter the 
fact that the policies pursued by the pre-war Marxist parties are played out and have no 
future. Just as the concept of sexual energy was lost within the psychoanalytic 
organization only to reappear strong and young in the discovery of the orgone, the 
concept of the international worker lost its meaning in the practices of Marxist parties 
only to be resurrected within the framework of sex-economic sociology. For the activities 
of sex-economists are possible only within the framework of socially necessary work and 
not within the framework of reactionary, mystified, nonworking life. 

Sex-economic sociology was born from the effort to harmonize Freud’ s depth 
psychology with Marx’s economic theory. Instinctual and socio-economic processes 
determine human existence. But we have to reject eclectic attempts to combine ‘instinct’ 
and ‘economy’ arbitrarily. Sex-economic sociology dissolves the contradiction that 
caused psychoanalysis to forget the social factor and Marxism to forget the j animal 
.origin of man. As I stated elsewhere: Psychoanalysis is the mother, sociology the father, 
of sex-economy. But a child is more the sum total of his parents. Fie is a new, 
independent E creature; he is the seed of the future. 

In accord with the new, sex-economic comprehension of the concept of’ work’, the 
following changes were made in the book’s terminology. The concepts ‘communist’, 
‘socialist’, ‘class consciousness’, etc., were replaced by more specific sociologic and 
psychological terms, such as ‘revolutionary’ and ‘scientific’. What they import is a 
‘radical revolutionizing’, ‘rational activity’, ‘getting to the root of things’. 

This takes into account the fact that today it is not the Communist or the Socialist 
parties but, in contradistinction to them, many non-political groups and social classes of 
every political hue that are becoming more and more revolutionary, i.e., are striving for a 
fundamentally new, rational social order. It has become part of our universal social 
consciousness — and even the old bourgeois politicians are saying it - that, as a result of 
its fight against the fascist plague, the world has become involved in the process of an 
enormous, international, revolutionary upheaval. The words ‘proletariat’ and ‘prole- 
tarian’ were coined more than a hundred years ago to denote a completely defrauded 
class of society, which was condemned to pauperization on a mass scale. To be sure, such 
categories still exist today, but the great grandchildren of the nineteenth-century 
proletariat have become specialized, technically highly developed, indispensable, 
responsible industrial workers who are conscious of their skills. The words ‘class 
consciousness’ are replaced by ‘consciousness of one’s skills’ or ‘social responsibility’. 

In nineteenth-century Marxism ‘class consciousness’ was restricted to manual 
labourers. Those who were employed in other vital occupations, i.e., occupations without 
which society could not function, were labelled ‘intellectuals’ or ‘petty bourgeois’ and set 
against the ‘manual labour proletariat’. This schematic and no longer applicable 
juxtaposition played a very essential part in the victory of fascism in Germany. The 
concept ‘class consciousness’ is not only too narrow, it does not at all tally with the 
structure of the class of manual workers. For this reason, ‘industrial work’ and ‘pro- 
letariat’ were replaced by the terms ‘vital work’ and ‘the working man’. These two terms 
include all those who perform work that is vital to the existence of the society. In addition 
to the industrial workers, this includes the physician, teacher, technician, laboratory 

worker, writer, social administrator, farmer, scientific worker, etc. This new conception 
closes a gap that contributed in no small way to the fragmentation of working human 
society and, consequently, led to fascism, both the black and red variety. 

Owing to its lack of knowledge of mass psychology, Marxist sociology set ‘bourgeois’ 
against ‘proletariat’. This is incorrect from a psychological viewpoint. The character 
structure is not restricted to the capitalists; it is prevalent among the working men of all 
occupations. There are liberal capitalists and reactionary workers. There are no ‘class 
distinctions’ when it comes to character. For that reason, the purely economic concepts 
‘bourgeoisie’ and ‘proletariat’ were replaced by the concepts ‘reactionary’ and 
‘revolutionary’ or ‘free-minded’, which relate to man’s character and not to his social 
class. These changes were forced upon us by the fascist plague. 

The dialectical materialism Engels outlined in his Anti-Duhring went on to become an 
energetic functionalism. This forward development was made possible by the discovery 
of the biological energy, the orgone (1936-8). Sociology and psychology acquired a solid 
biological foundation. Such a development could not fail to exercise an influence on our 
thinking. Our extension of thought brings about changes in old concepts; new ones take 
the place of those that have ceased to be valid. The Marxist word ‘consciousness’ was 
replaced by ‘dynamic structure’; ‘need’ was replaced by ‘orgonotic instinctual 
processes’; ‘tradition’ by ‘biological and characterological rigidity’, etc. 

The vulgar Marxist concept of ‘private enterprise’ was totally misconstrued by man’s 
irrationality; it was understood to mean that the liberal development of society precluded 
every private possession. Naturally, this was widely exploited by political reaction. Quite 
obviously, social development and individual freedom have nothing to do with the so- 
called abolishment of private property. Marx’s concept of private property did not refer to 
man’s shirts, pants, typewriters, toilet paper, books, beds, savings, houses, real estate, etc. 
This concept was used exclusively in reference to the private ownership of the social 
means of production, i.e., those means of production that determine the general course of 
society. In other words: railroads, waterworks, generating plants, coal mines, etc. The 
‘socialization of the means of production’ became such a bugbear precisely because it 
was confounded to mean the ‘private expropriation’ of chickens, shirts, books, 
residences, etc., in conformity with the ideology of the expropriated. Over the course of 
the past century the nationalization of the social means of production has begun to make 
an incursion upon the latter’s private availability in all capitalist countries, in some 
countries more, in others less. 

Since the working man’s structure and capacity for freedom were too inhibited to 
enable him to adapt to the rapid development of social organizations, it was the ‘state’ 
that carried out those acts that were actually reserved for the ‘community’ of working 
man. As for Soviet Russia, the alleged citadel of Marxism, it is out of the question to 

speak of the c socialization of the means of production’. The Marxist parties simply 
confused ‘socialization’ with ‘nationalization’. It was shown in this past war that the 
government of the United States also has the jurisdiction and the means of nationalizing 
poorly functioning industries. A socialisation of the means of production, their transfer 
from the private ownership of single individuals to social ownership, sounds a lot less 
horrible when one realizes that today, as a result of the war, only a few independent 
owners remain in capitalist countries, whereas there are many trusts that are responsible 

to the state; when one realizes, moreover, that in Soviet Russia the social industries are 
certainly not managed by the people who work in them, but by groups of state 
functionaries. The socialisation of the social means of production will not be topical or 
possible until the masses of working humanity have become structurally mature, i. e . , 
conscious of their responsibility to manage them. The overwhelming majority of the 
masses today is neither willing nor mature enough for it. Moreover, a socialization of 
large industries, which would place these industries under the sole management of the 
manual labourer, excluding technicians, engineers, directors, administrators, 
distributors, etc., is sociologically and economically senseless. Today such an idea is 
rejected by the manual labourers themselves. If that were not the case, Marxist parties 
would already have conquered power everywhere. This is the most essential sociological 
explanation of the fact that more and more the private enterprise of the nineteenth century 
is turning into a state-capitalist planned economy. It must be clearly stated that even in 
Soviet Russia state socialism does not exist, but a rigid state capitalism in the strict 
Marxian sense of the word. According to Marx, the social condition of ‘capitalism’ does 
not, as the vulgar Marxist believed, derive from the existence of individual capitalists, but 
from the existence of the specific ‘capitalist modes of production’. It derives, in short, 
from exchange economy and not from use economy, from the paid labour of masses of 
people and from surplus production, whether this surplus accrues to the state above the 
society, or to the individual capitalists through their appropriation of social production. In 
this strict Marxian sense the capitalist system continues to exist in Russia. And it will 
continue to exist as long as masses of people are irrationally motivated and crave 
authority as they are and do at present. 

The sex-economic psychology of structure adds to the economic view of society a new 
interpretation of man’s character and biology. The removal of individual capitalists and 
the establishment of state capitalism in Russia in place of private capitalism did not effect 
the slightest change in the typical, helpless, subservien t character- structure of masses of 
people. Moreover, the political ideology of the European Marxist parties was based on 
economic conditions that were confined to a period of some two hundred years, from 
about the seventeenth to the nineteenth century, during which the machine was 
developed. Twentieth-century fascism, on the other hand, raised the basic question of 
man’s character, human mysticism and craving for authority, which covered a period of 
some four to six thousand years. Here, too, vulgar Marxism sought to ram an elephant 
into a foxhole. The human structure with which sex-economic sociology is concerned did 
not evolve during the past two hundred years; on the contrary, it reflects a patriarchal 
authoritarian civilization that goes back thousands of years. Indeed, sex-economy goes so 
far as to say that the abominable excesses of the capitalist era of the past three thousand 
years (predatory imperialism, denudation of the working man, racial subjugation, etc.) 
were possible only because the human structure of the untold masses who had endured all 
this had become totally dependent upon authority, incapable of freedom and extremely 

accessible to mysticism. That this structure is not native to man but was inculcated by 
social conditions and indoctrination does not alter its effects one bit; but it does point to a 
way out, namely restructuration. If being radical is understood to mean ‘getting to the 
root of things’, then the point of view of sex-economic biophysics is, in the strict and 
positive sense of the word, infinitely more radical than that of the vulgar Marxist. 

It follows from all this that the social measures of the past three hundred years can no 
more cope with the mass pestilence of fascism than an elephant (six thousand years) can 
be forced into a foxhole (three hundred years). 

“Hence, the discovery of natural biological work-democracy in international human 
intercourse is to be considered the answer to fascism. This would be true, even if not a 
single contemporary sex-economist, orgone biophysicist or work-democrat should live to 
see its complete realization and victory over irrationality in social life. 




BIONS: Vesicles representing transitional stages between nonliving and living 
substance. They constantly form in nature by a process of disintegration of inorganic and 
organic matter, which process it has been possible to reproduce experimentally. They are 
charged with orgone energy and develop into protozoa and bacteria. 

BIOPATHY: disorder resulting from the disturbance of biological pulsation in the 
total organism. It comprises all those disease processes that occur in the autonomic life 
apparatus. The central mechanism is a disturbance in the discharge of biosexual 

CHARACTER ANALYSIS: A modification of the customary psychoanalytic 
technique of symptom analysis, by the inclusion of the character and character resistance 
into the therapeutic process. 

CHARACTER STRUCTURE: An individual’s typical structure, his stereotype 
manner of acting and reacting. The orgonomic concept of character is functional and 
biological, and not a static psychological or moralistic concept. 

ORGASM ANXIETY : Sexual anxiety caused by an external frustration of instinctual 
gratification and anchored internally by the fear of dammed-up sexual excitation. It forms 
the basis of the general pleasure anxiety that is an integral part of the prevailing human 

ORGASTIC IMPOTENCE: The absence of orgastic potency, i.e., the incapacity for 
complete surrender to the involuntary convulsion of the organism and complete discharge 
of the excitation at the acme of the genital embrace. It is the most important characteristic 
of the average human of today, and - by damming up biological (orgone) energy in the 
organism - provides the source of energy for all kinds of biopathic symptoms and social 

ORGONE ENERGY : Primordial Cosmic Energy; universally present and 
demonstrable visually, thermically, electroscopically and by means of Geiger-Mueller 
counters. In the living organism: Bioenergy, Life Energy. Discovered by Wilhelm Reich 
between 1936 and 1940. 

orgonomic (energetic) functionalism: The functional thought technique that guides 
clinical and experimental orgone research. The guiding principle is that of the identity of 
variations in the common functioning principle (CFP). This thought technique grew in 

the course of the study of human character formation and led to the discovery of the 
functional organismic and cosmic orgone energy, thereby proving itself to be the correct 
mirroring of both living and non-living basic natural processes. 

Sex-economy: The term refers to the manner of regulation of biological energy, or, 
what is the same thing, of the economy of the sexual energies of the individual. Sex- 
economy means the manner in which an individual handles his biological energy; how 
much of it he dams up and how much of it he discharges orgastically. The factors that 
influence this manner of regulation are of a sociological, psychological and biological 
nature. The science of sex-economy consisted of that body of knowledge that was derived 
from a study of these factors. This term was applicable to Reich’s work from the time of 
his refutation of Freud’s cultural philosophy to the discovery of the orgone when it was 
superseded by orgonomy, the science of the Life Energy. 

Sex politics: The term ‘sex polities’ or ‘sex political’ refers to the practical application 
of the concepts of sex-economy on the social scene on a mass basis. This work was done 
within the mental hygiene and revolutionary freedom movements in Austria and 
Germany from 1927 to 1933. 

Sexpol: The name of the German organization concerned with mass sex political 

Vegetotherapy: With the discovery of the muscular armour, the character analytic 
therapeutic process was modified to liberate the bound-up vegetative energies, thereby 
restoring to the patient his biophysical motility. The combining of character analysis and 
vegetotherapy was known as character analytic vegetotherapy. The later discovery of 
organismic orgone energy and the concentration of atmospheric orgone energy with an 
orgone energy accumulator necessitated the further development of character analytic 
vegetotherapy into an inclusive, biophysical orgone therapy. 

Ork-democracy: Work-democracy is not an ideological system. Nor is it a ‘political’ 
system, which could be imposed upon human society by the propaganda of a party, 
individual politicians or any group sharing a common ideology. Natural work-democracy 
is the sum total of all functions of life governed by the rational interpersonal relations that 
have come into being, grown and developed in a natural and organic way. What is new in 
work-democracy is that for the first time in the history of sociology, a possible future 
regulation of human society is derived not from ideologies or conditions that must be 
created, but from natural processes that have been present and have been developing from 
the very beginning. Work-democratic ‘polities’ is distinguished by the fact that rejects all 
politics and demagogism. Masses of working men and women will not be relieved of 
their social responsibility. They will be burdened with it. Work-democrats have no 
ambition to be political fuhrers. Work-democracy consciously develops formal 
democracy, which is expressed in the mere election of political representatives and does 
not entail any further responsibility on the part of the electorate, into a genuine, factual, 
and practical democracy on an international scale. This democracy is borne by the 
functions of love, work and knowledge and is developed organically. It fights mysticism 
and the idea of the totalitarian state not through political attitudes but through practical 
functions of life, which obey their own laws. In short, natural work-democracy is a newly 
discovered bio-sociologic, natural and basic function of society. It is not a political 


Ideology as a Material Force 

The German freedom movement prior to Hitler was inspired by Karl Marx’s economic 
and social theory. Hence, an understanding of German fascism must proceed from an 
understanding of Marxism. 

In the months following National Socialism’s seizure of power in Germany, even 
those individuals whose revolutionary firmness and readiness to be of service had been 
proven again and again, expressed doubts about the correctness of Marx’s basic 
conception of social processes. These doubts were generated by a fact that, though 
irrefutable, was at first incomprehensible: Fascism, the most extreme representative of 
political and economic reaction in both its goals and its nature, had become an 
international reality and in many countries had visibly and undeniably outstripped the 
socialist revolutionary movement. That this reality found its strongest expression in the 
highly industrialized countries only heightened the problem. The rise of nationalism in all 
parts of the world offset the failure of the workers’ movement in a phase of modern 
history in which, as the Marxists contended, ‘the capitalist mode of production had 
become economically ripe for explosion’. Added to this was the deeply ingrained 
remembrance of the failure of the Workers’ International at the outbreak of the First 
World War and of the crushing of the revolutionary uprisings outside of Russia between 
1918 and 1923, They were doubts, in short, which were generated by grave facts; if they 
were justified, then the basic Marxist conception was false and the workers’ movement 
was in need of a decisive reorientation, provided one still wanted to achieve its goals. If, 
however, the doubts were not justified, and Marx’s basic conception of sociology was 
correct, then not only was a thorough and extensive analysis of the reasons for the 
continual failure of the workers’ movement called for, but also - and this above all - a 
complete elucidation of the unprecedented mass movement of fascism was also needed. 
Only from this could a new revolutionary practice result. 

A change in the situation was out of the question unless it could be proven that either 
the one or the other was the case. It was clear that neither an appeal to the ‘revolutionary 
class consciousness’ of the working class nor the practice a la Cone - the camouflaging 
of defeats and the covering of important facts with illusions - a practice that was in vogue 
at that time, could lead to the goal. One could not content oneself with the fact that the 
workers’ movement was also ‘progressing’, that here and there resistance was being 
offered and strikes were being called. What is decisive is not that progress is being made, 
but at what tempo, in relation to the international strengthening and advance of political 
reaction. The young work-democratic, sex-economic movement is interested in a 
thorough clarification of this question not only because it is a part of the social liberation 
fight in general but chiefly because the achievement of its goals is inextricably related to 
the achievement of the political and economic goals of natural work-democracy. For this 
reason we want to try to explain how the specific sex-economic questions are interlaced 
with the general social questions, seen from the perspective of the worker’s movement. 

In some of the German meetings around 1 930 there were intelligent, straightforward, 
though nationalistically and mystically oriented, revolutionaries - such as Otto Strasser, 
for example - who were wont to confront the Marxists as follows: ‘You Marxists like to 
quote Marx’s theories in your defence. Marx taught that theory is verified by practice 
only, but your Marxism has proved to be a failure. You always come around with 
explanations for the defeat of the Workers’ International. The “defection of the Social 
Democrats” was your explanation for the defeat of 1914; you point to their ‘treacherous 
politics” and their illusions to account for the defeat of 1918. And again you have ready 
“explanations” to account for the fact that in the present world crisis the masses are 
turning to the Right instead of to the Left. But your explanations do not blot out the fact 
of your defeats! Eighty years have passed, and where is the concrete confirmation of the 
theory of social revolution? Your basic error is that you reject or ridicule soul and mind 
and that you don’t comprehend that which moves everything.’ Such were their argu- 
ments, and exponents of Marxism had no answer. It became more and more clear that 
their political mass propaganda, dealing as it did solely with the discussion of objective 
socio-economic processes at a time of crisis (capitalist modes of production, economic 
anarchy, etc.), did not appeal to anyone other than the minority already enrolled in the 
Left front. The playing up of material needs and of hunger was not enough, for every 
political party did that much, even the church; so that in the end it was the mysticism of 
the National Socialists that triumphed over the economic theory of socialism, and at a 
time when the economic crisis and misery were at their worst. Hence, one had to admit 
that there was a glaring omission in the propaganda and in the overall conception of 
socialism and that, moreover, this omission was the source of its ‘political errors’. It was 
an error in the Marxian comprehension of political reality, and yet all the prerequisites for 
its correction were contained in the methods of dialectical materialism. They had simply 
never been turned to use. In their political practice, to state it briefly at the outset, the 
Marxists bad failed to take into account the character structure of the masses and the 
social effect of mysticism. 

Those who followed, and were practically involved in the revolutionary Left’s 
application of Marxism between 1917 and 1933, had to notice that it was restricted to the 
sphere of objective economic processes and governmental policies, but that it neither kept 
a close eye on nor comprehended the development and contradictions of the so-called 
‘subjective factor’ of history, i.e., the ideology of the masses. The revolutionary Left 
failed, above all, to make fresh use of its own method of dialectical materialism, to keep 
it alive, to comprehend every new social reality from a new perspective with this method. 

The use of dialectical materialism to comprehend new historical realities was not 
cultivated, and fascism was a reality that neither Marx nor Engels was familiar with, and 
was caught sight of by Lenin only in its beginnings. The reactionary conception of reality 
shuts its eyes to fascism’s contradictions and actual conditions. Reactionary politics 
automatically makes use of those social forces that oppose progress; it can do this 
successfully only as long as science neglects to unearth those revolutionary forces that 
must of necessity overpower the reactionary forces. As we shall see later, not only 
regressive but also very energetic progressive social forces emerged in the rebelliousness 
of the lower middle classes, which later constituted the mass basis of fascism. This 
contradiction was overlooked; indeed, the role of the lower middle classes was altogether 
in eclipse until shortly before Hitler’s seizure of power. 

Revolutionary activity in every area of human existence will come about by itself 
when the contradictions in every new process are comprehended; it will consist of 
identification with those forces that are moving in the direction of genuine progress. To 
be radical, according to Karl Marx, means’ getting to the root of things’. If one gets to the 
root of things, if one grasps their contradictory operations, then the overcoming of 
political reaction is assured. If one does not get to the root of things, one ends, whether 
one wants to or not, in mechanism, in economism or even in metaphysics, and inevitably 
loses one’s footing. Hence, a critique can only be significant and have a practical value if 
it can show where the contradictions of social reality were overlooked. What was 
revolutionary about Marx was not that he wrote this or that proclamation or pointed out 
revolutionary goals; his major revolutionary contribution is that he recognized the 
industrial productive forces as the progressive force of society and that he depicted the 
contradictions of capitalist economy as they relate to real life. The failure of the workers’ 
movement must mean that our knowledge of those forces that retard social progress is 
very limited, indeed, that some major factors are still altogether unknown. 

As so many works of great thinkers, Marxism also degenerated to hollow formulas 
and lost its scientific revolutionary potency in the hands of Marxist politicians. They were 
so entangled in everyday political struggles that they failed to develop the principles of a 
vital philosophy of life handed down by Marx and Engels. To confirm this, one need 
merely compare Sauerland’s hpok on ‘Dialectical Materialism’ or any of Salkind’s or 
Pieck’s books with Marx’s Das Kapital or Engels’ The Development of Socialism from 
Utopia to Science. Flexible methods were reduced to formulas; scientific empiricism to 
rigid orthodoxy. In the meantime the ‘proletariat’ of Marx’s time had developed into an 
enormous class of industrial workers, and the middle-class shopkeepers had become a 
colossus of industrial and public employees. Scientific Marxism degenerated to ‘vulgar 
Marxism’. This is the name many outstanding Marxist politicians have given to the 
economism that restricts all of human existence to the problem of unemployment and pay 

It was this very vulgar Marxism that maintained that the economic crisis of 1929-33 
was of such a magnitude that it would of necessity lead to an ideological Leftist 
orientation among the stricken masses. While there was still talk of a ‘revolutionary 
revival’ in Germany, even after the defeat of January 1933, the reality of the situation 
showed that the economic crisis, which, according to expectations, was supposed to entail 
a development to the Left in the ideology of the masses, had led to an extreme 
development to the Right in the ideology of the proletarian strata of the population. The 
result was a cleavage between the economic basis, which developed to the Left, and the 
ideology of broad layers of society, which developed to the Right. This cleavage was 
overlooked; consequently, no one gave a thought to asking how broad masses living in 
utter poverty could become nationalistic. Explanations such as ‘chauvinism’, ‘psychosis’, 
‘the consequences of Versailles’, are not of much use, for they do not enable us to cope 
with the tendency of a distressed middle class to become radical Rightist; such 
explanations do not really comprehend the processes at work in this tendency. In fact, it 
was not only the middle class that turned to the Right, but broad and not always the worst 
elements of the proletariat. One failed to see that the middle classes, put on their guard by 
the success of the Russian Revolution, resorted to new and seemingly strange 
preventative measures (such as Roosevelt’s ‘New Deal’), which were not understood at 

that time and which the workers’ movement neglected to analyse. One also failed to see 
that, at the outset and during the initial stages of its development to a mass movement, 
fascism was directed against the upper middle class and hence could not be disposed of 
‘merely as a bulwark of big finance’, if only because it was a mass movement. Where 
was the problem? 

The basic Marxist conception grasped the facts that labour was exploited as a 
commodity, that capital was concentrated in the hands of the few and that the latter 
entailed the progressive pauperization of the majority of working humanity. It was from 
this process that Marx arrived at the necessity of ‘expropriating the expropriators’. 
According to this conception, the forces of production of capitalist society transcend the 
limits of the modes of production. The contradiction between social production and 
private appropriation of the products by capital can only be cleared up by the balancing 
of the modes of production with the level of the forces of production. Social production 
must be complemented by the social appropriation of the products. The first act of this 
assimilation is social revolution; this is the basic economic principle of Marxism. This 
assimilation can take place, it is said, only if the pauperized majority establishes the 
‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ as the dictatorship of the working majority over the 
minority of the now expropriated owners of the means of production. 

According to Marx’s theory the economic preconditions for a social revolution were 
given: capital was concentrated in the hands of the few, the growth of national economy 
to a world economy was completely at variance with the custom and tariff system of the 
national states; capitalist economy had achieved hardly half of its production capacity, 
and there could no longer be any doubt about its basic anarchy. The majority of the 
population of the highly industrialized countries was living in misery; some fifty million 
people were unemployed in Europe; hundreds of millions of workers scraped along on 
next to nothing. But the expropriation of the expropriators failed to take place and, 
contrary to expectations, at the crossroads between ‘socialism and barbarism’, it was in 
the direction of barbarism that society first preceded. For the international strengthening 
of fascism and the lagging behind of the workers’ movement was nothing other than that. 
Those who still hoped for a revolution to result from the anticipated Second World War, 
which in the meantime had become a reality - those, in other words, who counted on the 
masses to turn the weapons thrust into their hands against the inner enemy -had not 
followed the development of the new techniques of war. One could not simply reject the 
reasoning to the effect that the arming of the broad masses would be highly unlikely in 
the next war. According to this conception, the fighting would be directed against the 
unarmed masses of the large industrial centres and would be carried out by very reliable 
and selected war-technicians. Hence, a reorientation of one’s thinking and one’s 
evaluations was the precondition of a new revolutionary practice. The Second World War 
was a confirmation of these expectations. 



Rationally considered, one would expect economically wretched masses of workers to 
develop a keen consciousness of their social situation; one would further expect this con- 
sciousness to harden into a determination to rid themselves of their social misery. In 

short, one would expect the socially wretched working man to revolt against the abuses to 
which he is subjected and to say: ‘After all, I perform responsible social work. It is upon 
me and those like me that the weal and ill of society rests. I myself assume the 
responsibility for the work that must be done.’ In such a case, the thinking (‘con- 
sciousness) of the worker would be in keeping with his social situation. The Marxist 
called it’ class consciousness’. We want to call it ‘consciousness of one’s skills’, or 
‘consciousness of one’s social responsibility’. The cleavage between the social situation 
of the working masses and their consciousness of this situation implies that, instead of 
improving their social position, the working masses worsen it. It was precisely the 
wretched masses who helped to put fascism, extreme political reaction, into power. 

It is a question of the role of ideology and the emotional attitude of these masses seen 
as a historical factor, a question of the repercussion of the ideology on the economic 
basis. If the material wretchedness of the broad masses did not lead to a social revolution; 
if, objectively considered, contrary revolutionary ideologies resulted from the crisis, then 
the development of the ideology of the masses in the critical years thwarted the 
‘efflorescence of the forces of production’, prevented, to use Marxist concepts, the’ 
revolutionary resolution of the contradictions between the forces of production of 
monopolistic capitalism and its methods of production’ . 

The composition of the classes in Germany appears as follows. Quoted from Kunik: 
‘An Attempt to Establish the Social Composition of the German Population’, Die Inter 
nationak, 1928, edited by Lenz: ‘Proletarian Policies’, Inter-nationaler Arbeiterverlag, 


No matter how many middle-class employees may have voted for left-wing parties 
and how many workers may have voted for right-wing parties, it is nonetheless striking 
that the figures of the ideological distribution, arrived at by us, agree approximately 
with the election figures of 1932: Taken together the Communists and the Social 
Democrats received twelve to thirteen million votes, while the NSDAP and the German 
Nationalists received some nineteen to twenty million votes. Thus, with respect to 
practical politics, it was not the economic but the ideological distribution that was 
decisive. In short, the political importance of the lower middle class is greater than had 
been assumed. 

During the rapid decline of the German economy, 1929-32, the NSDAP jumped from 
800,000 votes in 1928 to 6,400,000 in the fall of 1930, to 13,000,000 in the summer of 
1932 and 17,000,000 in January of 1933. According to Jager’s calculations (‘Hitler’, 

Refer Aufbau, October 1930) the votes cast by the workers made up approximately 
3,000,000 of the 6,400,000 votes received by the National Socialists in 1930. Of these 
3,000,000 votes, some 60 to 70 per cent came from employees and 30 to 40 per cent from 

To my knowledge it was Karl Radek who most clearly grasped the problematic aspect 
of this sociological process as early as 1930, following the N S D A P’s first upsurge. He 

Nothing similar to this is known in the history of political struggle, particularly in a 
country with firmly established political differentiations, in which every new party has 
had to fight for any position held Ly the old parties. There is nothing more characteristic 
than the fact that, neither in bourgeois nor in socialist literature, has anything been said 
about this party, which assumes the second place in German political life. It is a party 
without history which suddenly emerges in German political life, just as an island 
suddenly emerges in the middle of the sea owing to volcanic forces. [‘German Elections’, 
Roter Aufbau, October 19301 

We have no doubt that this island also has a history and follows an inner logic. 

The choice between the Marxist alternative: ‘fall to barbarism’ or ‘rise to socialism’, 
was a choice that, according to all previous experience, would be determined by the 
ideological structure of the dominated classes. Either this structure would be in keeping 
with the economic situation or it would be at variance with it, as, for instance, we find in 
large Asian societies, where exploitation is passively endured, or in present-day 
Germany, where a cleavage exists between economic situation and ideology. 

Thus, the basic problem is this: What causes this cleavage, or to put it another way, 
what prevents the economic situation from coinciding with the psychic structure of the 
masses? It is a problem, in short, of comprehending the nature of the psychological 
structure of the masses and its relation to the economic basis from which it derives. 

To comprehend this, we must first of all free ourselves from vulgar Marxist concepts, 
which only block the way to an understanding of fascism. Essentially, they are as 

In accordance with one of its formulas, vulgar Marxism completely separates 
economic existence from social existence as a whole, and states that man’s’ ideology’ 
and’ consciousness’ are solely and directly determined by his economic existence. Thus, 
it sets up a mechanical antithesis between economy and ideology, between ‘structure’ and 
‘superstructure’; it makes ideology rigidly and one-sidedly dependent upon economy, and 
fails to see the dependency of economic development upon that of ideology. For this 
reason the problem of the so-called ‘repercussion of ideology’ does not exist for it. 
Notwithstanding the fact that vulgar Marxism now speaks of the “lagging behind of the 
subjective factor’, as Lenin understood it, it can do nothing about it in a practical way, for 
its former conception of ideology as the product of the economic situation was too rigid. 
It did not explore the contradictions of economy in ideology, and it did not comprehend 
ideology as a historical force. 

In fact, it does everything in its power not to comprehend the structure and dynamics 
of ideology; it brushes it aside as ‘psychology’, which is not supposed to be ‘Marxistic’, 
and leaves the handling of the subjective factor, the so-called ‘psychic life’ in history, to 
the metaphysical idealism of political reaction, to the gentiles and Rosenbergs, who make 
‘mind’ and ‘soul’ solely responsible for the progress of history and, strange to say, have 
enormous success with this thesis. The neglect of this aspect of sociology is something 
Marx himself criticized in the materialism of the eighteenth century. To the vulgar 
Marxist, psychology is a metaphysical system pure and simple, and he draws no 
distinction whatever between the metaphysical character of reactionary psychology and 
the basic elements of psychology, which were furnished by revolutionary psychological 
research and which it is our task to develop. The vulgar Marxist simply negates, instead 

of offering constructive criticism, and feels himself to be a ‘materialist* when he rejects 
facts such as ‘ drive’,’ need’ or’ inner process’, as being ‘idealistic’. The result is that he 
gets into serious difficulties and meets with one failure after another, for he js continually 
forced to employ practical psychology in political practice, is forced to speak of the 
‘needs of the masses’, ‘revolutionary consciousness’, ‘the will to strike’, etc. The more 
the vulgar Marxist tries to gainsay psychology, the more he finds himself practising 
metaphysical psychologism and worse, insipid Coueism. For example, he will try to 
explain a historical situation on the basis of a ‘Hitler psychosis’, or console the masses 
and persuade them not to lose faith in Marxism. Despite everything, he asserts, headway 
is being made, the revolution will not be subdued, etc. He sinks to the point finally of 
pumping illusionary courage into the people, without in reality saying anything essential 
about the situation, without having comprehended what has happened. That political 
reaction is never at a loss to find a way put of a difficult situation, that an acute economic 
crisis can lead to barbarism as well as it can lead to social freedom, must remain for him 
a book with seven seals. Instead of allowing his thoughts and acts to issue from social 
reality, he transposes reality in his fantasy in such a way as to make it correspond to his 

Our political psychology can be nothing other than an investigation of this ‘subjective 
factor of history’, of the character structure of man in a given epoch and of the 
ideological structure of society that it forms. Unlike reactionary psychology and 
psychologistic economy, it does not try to lord it over Marxist sociology by throwing 
‘psychological conceptions’ of social processes in its teeth, but gives it its proper due as 
that which deduces consciousness from existence. 

The Marxist thesis to the effect that originally ‘that which is materialistic’ (existence) 
is converted into ‘that which is ideological’ (in consciousness), and not vice versa, leaves 
two questions open: (i) how this takes place, what happens in man’s brain in this process; 
and (2) how the ‘consciousness’ (we will refer to it as psychic structure from now on) 
that is formed in this way reacts upon the economic process. Character-analytic 
psychology fills this gap by revealing the process in man’s psychic life, which is 
determined by the conditions of existence. By so doing, it puts its finger on the 
‘subjective factor’, which the vulgar Marxist had failed to comprehend. Hence, political 
psychology has a sharply delineated task. It cannot, for instance, explain the genesis of 
class society or the capitalist mode of production (whenever it attempts this, the result is 
always reactionary nonsense - for instance, that capitalism is a symptom of man’s greed). 
Nonetheless, it is political psychology - and not social economy -that is in a position to 
investigate the structure of man’s character in a given epoch, to investigate how he thinks 
and acts, how the contradictions of his existence work themselves out, how he tries to 
cope with this existence, etc. To be sure, it examines individual men and women only. If, 
however, it specializes in the investigation of typical psychic processes common to one 
category, class, professional group, etc., and excludes individual differences, then it 
becomes a mass psychology. 

Thus it proceeds directly from Marx himself. 

The presuppositions with which we begin are not arbitrary presuppositions; they are 
not dogmas; they are real presuppositions from which one can abstract only in fancy. 

They are the actual individuals, their actions and the material conditions of their lives, 
those already existing as well as those produced by action. 

[ German Ideology] 

Man himself is the basis of his material production, as of every other production 
which he achieves. In other words, all conditions affect and more or less modify all of the 
functions and activities of man - the subject of production & the creator of material 
wealth, of commodities. In this connection it can be indeed proven that all human 
conditions and functions, no matter how and when they are manifested, influence 
material production and have a more or less determining effect on them [My italics, 

[Theory of Surplus Value] 

Hence, we are not saying anything new, and we are not revising Marx, as is so often 
maintained: ‘All human conditions ‘, that is, not only the conditions that are a part of the 
work process, but also the most private and most personal and highest accomplishments 
of human instinct and thought; also, in other words, the sexual life of women and 
adolescents and children, the level of the sociological investigation of these conditions 
and its application to new social questions. With a certain kind of these ‘human 
conditions’, Hitler was able to bring about a historical situation that is not to be ridiculed 
out of existence. Marx was not able to develop sociology of sex, because at that time 
sexology did not exist. Hence, it now becomes a question of incorporating both the purely 
economic and sex-economic conditions into the framework of sociology, of destroying 
the hegemony of the mystics and metaphysicians in this domain. 

When an ‘ideology has a repercussive effect upon the economic process’, this means 
that it must have become a material force. When an ideology becomes a material force, as 
soon as it has the ability to arouse masses, then we must go on to ask: How does this take 
place? How is it possible for an ideological factor to produce a materialistic result, that is, 
for a theory to produce a revolutionary effect? The answer to this question must also be 
the answer to the question of reactionary mass psychology; it must, in other words, 
elucidate the ‘Hitler psychosis’. 

The ideology of every social formation has the function not only of reflecting the 
economic process of this society, but also and more significantly of embedding this 
economic process in the psychic structures of the people who make up the society. Man is 
subject to the conditions of his existence in a twofold way: directly through the 
immediate influence of his economic and social position, and indirectly by means of the 
ideological structure of the society. His psychic structure, in other words, is forced to 
develop a contradiction corresponding to the contradiction between the influence 
exercised by his material position and the influence exercised by the ideological structure 
of society. The worker, for instance, is subject to the situation of his work as well as to 
the general ideology of the society. Since man, however, regardless of class, is not only 
the object of these influences but also reproduces them in his activities, his thinking and 
acting must be just as contradictory as the society from which they derive. But, inasmuch 
as a social ideology changes man’s psychic structure, it has not only reproduced itself in 
man but, what is more significant, has become an active force, a material power in man, 
who in turn has become concretely changed, and, as a consequence thereof, acts in a 
different and contradictory fashion. It is in this way and only in this way that the 

repercussions of a society’s ideology on the economic basis from which it derives is 
possible. The ‘repercussion’ loses its apparent metaphysical and psychologistic character 
when it can be comprehended as the functioning of the character structure of socially 
active man. As such, it is the object of natural scientific investigations of the character. 
Thus, the statement that the ‘ideology’ changes at a slower pace than the economic basis 
is invested with a definite cogency. The basic traits of the character structures 
corresponding to a definite historical situation are formed in early childhood, and are far 
more conservative than the forces of technical production. It results from this that, as 
time goes on, the psychic structures lag behind the rapid changes of the social conditions 
from which they derived, and later tome into conflict with new forms of life. This is the 
basic trait of the nature of so-called tradition, i.e., of the contradiction between the old 
and the new social situation. 


We begin to see now that the economic and ideological situations of the masses need 
not necessarily coincide, and that, indeed, there can be a considerable cleavage between 
the two. The economic situation is not directly and immediately converted into political 
consciousness. If this were the case, the social revolution would have been here long ago. 
In keeping with this dichotomy of social condition and social consciousness, the 
investigation of society must proceed along two different lines. Notwithstanding the fact 
that the psychic structure derives from the economic existence, the economic situation 
has to be comprehended with methods other than those used to comprehend the character 
structure: the former has to be comprehended socio-economically, the latter bio- 
psychologically. Let us illustrate this with a simple example: When workers, who are 
hungry, owing to wage-squeezing, go on strike, their act is a direct result of their 
economic situation. The same applies to the man who steals food because he is hungry. 
That a man steals because he is hungry, or that workers strike because they are being 
exploited, needs no further psychological clarification. In both cases ideology and action 
are commensurate with economic pressure. Economic situation and ideology coincide 
with one another. Reactionary psychology is wont to explain the theft and the strike in 
terms of supposed irrational motives; reactionary rationalizations are invariably the 
result. Social psychology sees the problem in an entirely different light: what has to be 
explained is not the fact that the man who is hungry steals or the fact that the man who is 
exploited strikes, but why the majority of those who are hungry don’t steal and why the 
majority of those who are exploited don’t strike. Thus, social economy can give a 
complete explanation of a social fact that serves a rational end, i.e., when it satisfies an 
immediate need and reflects and magnifies the economic situation. The social economic 
explanation does not hold up, on the other hand, when a man’s thought and action are 
inconsistent with the economic situation, are irrational, in other words. The vulgar 
Marxist and the narrow-minded economist, who do not acknowledge psychology, are 
helpless in the face of such a contradiction. The more mechanistically and 
economistically oriented a sociologist is, the less he knows about man’s psychic 
structure, the more he is apt to fall prey to superficial psychologism in the practice of 
mass propaganda. Instead of probing and resolving the psychic contradictions in the 

individuals of the masses, he has recourse to insipid Couelsm or he explains the 
nationalistic movement on the basis of a ‘mass psychosis’. Hence, the line of questioning 
of mass psychology begins precisely at the point where the immediate socio-economic 
.explanation hits wide of the mark. Does this mean that mass psychology and social 
economy serve cross purposes? No. For thinking and acting on the part of the masses 
contradictory to the immediate socio-economic situation, i.e., irrational thinking and 
acting are themselves the result of an earlier, older socio-economic situation. One is wont 
to explain the repression of social consciousness by so-called tradition. But no 
investigation has been made as yet to determine just what ‘tradition’ is, to determine 
which psychic elements are moulded by it. Narrow-minded economy has repeatedly 
failed to see that the most essential question does not relate to the workers’ consciousness 
of social responsibility (this is self-evident!) but to what it is that inhibits the development 
of this consciousness of responsibility. 

Ignorance of the character structure of masses of people invariably leads to fruitless 
questioning. The Communists, for example, said that it was the misdirected policies of 
the Social Democrats that made it possible for the fascists to seize power. Actually this 
explanation did not explain anything, for it was precisely the Social Democrats who made 
a point of spreading illusions. In short, it did not result in a new mode of action. That 
political reaction in the form of fascism had ‘befogged’, ‘corrupted’ and ‘hypnotized’ the 
masses is an explanation that is as sterile as the others. This is and will continue to be the 
function of fascism as long as it exists. Such explanations are sterile because they fail to 
offer a way out. Experience teaches us that such disclosures, no matter how often they are 
repeated, do not convince the masses; that, in other words, social economic inquiry by 
itself is not enough. Wouldn’t it be closer to the mark to ask what was going on in the 
masses that they could not and would not recognize the function of fascism? To say that 
‘The workers have to realize ...’ or ‘We didn’t understand ...’ does not serve any purpose. 
Why didn’t the workers realize, and why didn’t they understand? The questions that 
formed the basis of discussion between the Right and the Left in the workers’ movements 
are also to be regarded as sterile. The Right contended that the workers were not 
predisposed to fight; the Left, on the other hand, refuted this and asserted that the workers 
were revolutionary and that the Right’s statement was a betrayal of revolutionary 
thinking. Both assertions, because they failed to see the complexities of the issue, were 
rigidly mechanistic. A realistic appraisal would have had to point out that the average 
worker bears a contradiction in himself; that he, in other words, is neither a clear-cut 
revolutionary nor a clear-cut conservative, but stands divided. His psychic structure 
derives on the one hand from the social situation (which prepares the ground for 
revolutionary attitudes) and on the other hand from the entire atmosphere of authoritarian 
society - the two being at odds with one another. 

It is of decisive importance to recognize such a contradiction and to learn precisely 
how that which is reactionary and that which is progressive-revolutionary in the workers 
are set off against one another. Naturally, the same applies to the middle-class man. That 
he rebels against the ‘system’ in a crisis is readily understandable. However, 
notwithstanding the fact that he is already in an economically wretched position, the fact 
that he fears progress and becomes extremely reactionary is not to be readily understood 
from a socio-economic point of view. In short, he too bears a contradiction in himself 
between rebellious feelings and reactionary aims and contents. We do not, for instance, 

give a full sociological explanation of a war when we analyse the specific economic and 
political factors that are its immediate cause. In other words, it is only part of the story 
that the German annexation ambitions prior to 1914 were focused on the ore mines of 
Briey and Longy, on the Belgian industrial centre, on the extension of Germany’s 
colonial possessions in the Near East; or that Hitler’s imperial interests were focused on 
the oil wells of Baku, on the factories of Czechoslovakia, etc. To be sure, the economic 
interests of German imperialism were the immediate decisive factors, but we also have to 
put into proper perspective the mass psychological basis of world wars; we have to ask 
how the psychological structure of the masses was capable of absorbing the imperialistic 
ideology, to translate the imperialistic slogans into deeds that were diametrically opposed 
to the peaceful, politically disinterested attitude of the German population. To say that 
this was due to the ‘defection of the leaders of the Second International’ is insufficient. 
Why did the myriad masses of the freedom-loving and anti-imperialistic orien ted markers 
allow themselves to be betrayed? The fear of the consequences involved in conscientious 
objection accounts only for a minority of cases. Those who went through the mobilization 
of 1914 know that various moods were evident among the working masses. They ranged 
from a conscious refusal on the part of a minority to a strange resignedness to fate (or 
plain apathy) on the part of very broad layers of the population, to the point of clear 
martial enthusiasm, not only in the middle classes but among large segments of industrial 
workers also. The apathy of some as well as the enthusiasm of others was undoubtedly 
part of the foundations of war in the structure of the masses. This function on the part of 
the psychology of the masses in both world wars can be understood only from the sex- 
economic point of view, namely that the imperialistic ideology concretely changed the 
structures of the working masses to suit imperialism. To say that social catastrophes are 
caused by ‘war psychoses’ or by ‘mass befogging’ is merely to throw out phrases. Such 
explanations explain nothing. Besides it would be a very low estimation of the masses to 
suppose that they would be accessible to mere befogging. The point is that every social 
order produces in the masses of its members that structure which it needs to achieve its 
main aims. No war would be possible without this psychological structure of the masses. 
An essential relation exists between the economic structure of society and the mass 
psychological structure of its members, not only in the sense that the ruling ideology is 
the ideology of the ruling class, but, what is even more important for the solving of 
practical questions of politics, the contradictions of the economic structure of a society 
are also embedded in the psychological structure of the subjugated masses. Otherwise it 
would be inconceivable that the economic laws of a society could succeed in achieving 
concrete results solely through the activities of the masses subjected to them. 

To be sure, the freedom movements of Germany knew of the so-called ‘subjective 
factor of history’ (contrary to mechanistic materialism, Marx conceived of man as the 
subject of history, and it was precisely this side of Marxism that Lenin built upon); what 
was lacking was a comprehension of irrational seemingly purposeless actions or, to put 
it another way, of the cleavage between economy and ideology. We have to be able to 
explain how it was possible for mysticism to have triumphed over scientific sociology. 
This task can be accomplished only if our line of questioning is such that a new mode of 
action results spontaneously from our explanation. If the working man is neither a clear- 
cut reactionary nor a clear-cut revolutionary, but is caught in a contradiction between 
reactionary and revolutionary tendencies, then if we succeed in putting our finger on this 

contradiction, the result must be a mode of action that offsets the conservative psychic 
forces with revolutionary forces. Every form of mysticism is reactionary, and the 
reactionary man is mystical. To ridicule mysticism, to try to pass it off as ‘befogging’ or 
as ‘psychosis’, does not lead to a programme against mysticism. If mysticism is correctly 
comprehended, however, an antidote must of necessity result. But to accomplish this task, 
the relations between social situation and structural formation, especially the irrational 
ideas that are not to be explained on a purely socio-economic basis, have to be 
comprehended as completely as our means of cognition allow. 


Even Lenin noted a peculiar, irrational behaviour on the part of the masses before and 
in the process of a revolt. On the soldiers’ revolt in Russia in 1905, he wrote: 

The soldier had a great deal of sympathy for the cause of the peasant; at the mere 
mention of land, his eyes blazed with passion. Several times military power passed into 
the hands of the soldiers, but this power was hardly ever used resolutely. The soldiers 
wavered. A few hours after they had disposed of a hated superior, they released the 
others, entered into negotiations with the authorities, and then had themselves shot, 
submitted to the rod, had themselves yoked again. 

Any mystic will explain such behaviour on the basis of man’s eternal moral nature, 
which, he would contend, prohibits a rebellion against the divine scheme and the 
‘authority of the state’ and its representatives. The vulgar Marxist simply disregards such 
phenomena, and he would have neither an understanding nor an explanation for them 
because they are not to be explained from a purely economic point of view. The Freudian 
conception comes considerably closer to the facts of the case, for it recognizes such 
behaviour as the effect of infantile guilt-feelings towards the father figure. Yet it fails to 
give us any insight into the sociological origin and function of this behaviour, and for that 
reason does not lead to a practical solution. It also overlooks the connection between this 
behaviour and the repression and distortion of the sexual life of the broad masses. 

To help clarify our approach to the investigation of such irrational mass psychological 
phenomena, it is necessary to take a cursory glance at the line of questioning of sex- 
economy, which is treated in detail elsewhere. 

Sex-economy is a field of research that grew out of the sociology of human sexual life 
many years ago, through the application of functionalism in this sphere, and has acquired 
a number of new insights. It proceeds from the following presuppositions: 

Marx found social life to be governed by the conditions of economic production and 
by the class conflict that resulted from these conditions at a definite point of history. It is 
only seldom that brute force is resorted to in the domination of the oppressed classes by 
the owners of the social means of production; its main weapon is its ideological power 
over the oppressed, for it is this ideology that is the mainstay of the state apparatus. We 
have already mentioned that for Marx it is the living, productive man, with his psychic 
and physical disposition, who is the first presupposition of history and of politics. The 
character structure of active man, the so-called ‘subjective factor of history’ in Marx’s 
sense, remained uninvestigated because Marx was a sociologist and not a psychologist, 
and because at that time scientific psychology did not exist. Why man had allowed 

himself to be exploited and morally humiliated, why, in short, he had submitted to 
slavery for thousands of years, remained unanswered; what had been ascertained were 
only the economic process of society and the mechanism of economic exploitation. 

Just about half a century later, using a special method he called psychoanalysis, Freud 
discovered the process that governs psychic life. His most important discoveries, which 
had a devastating and revolutionary effect upon a large number of existing ideas (a fact 
that garnered him the hate of the world in the beginning), are as follows: 

Consciousness is only a small part of the psychic life; it itself is governed by psychic 
processes that take place unconsciously and are therefore not accessible to conscious 
control. Every psychic experience (no matter how meaningless it appears to be), such as a 
dream, a useless performance, the absurd utterances of the psychically sick and mentally 
deranged, etc., has a function and a ‘meaning’ and can be completely understood if one 
can succeed in tracing its etiology. Thus psychology, which had been steadily 
deteriorating into a kind of physics of the brain (‘brain mythology’) or into a theory of a 
mysterious objective Geist, entered the domain of natural science. 

Freud’s second great discovery was that even the small child develops a lively 
sexuality, which has nothing to do with procreation; that, in other words, sexuality and 
procreation, and sexual and genital, are not the same. The analytic dissection of psychic 
processes further proved that sexuality, or rather its energy, the libido, which is of the 
body, is the prime motor of psychic life. Hence, the biologic presuppositions and social 
conditions of life overlap in the mind. 

The third great discovery was that childhood sexuality, of which what is most crucial 
in the child-parent relationship (‘the Oedipus complex’) is a part, is usually repressed out 
of fear of punishment for sexual acts and thoughts (basically a ‘fear of castration’); the 
child’s sexual activity is blocked and extinguished from memory. Thus, while repression 
of childhood sexuality withdraws it from the influence of consciousness, it does not 
weaken its force. On the contrary, the repression intensifies it and enables it to manifest 
itself in various pathological disturbances of the mind. As there is hardly an exception to 
this rule among ‘civilized man’, Freud could say that he had all of humanity as his 

The fourth important discovery in this connection was that, far from being of divine 
origin, man’s moral code was derived from the educational measures used by the parents 
and parental surrogates in earliest childhood. At bottom, those educational measures 
opposed to childhood sexuality are most effective. The conflict that originally takes place 
between the child’s desires and the parent’s suppression of these desires later becomes 
the conflict between instinct and morality within the person. In adults the moral code, 
which itself is unconscious, operates against the comprehension of the laws of sexuality 
and of unconscious psychic life; it supports sexual repression (‘sexual resistance’) and 
accounts for the widespread resistance to the ‘uncovering’ of childhood sexuality. 

Through their very existence, each one of these discoveries (we named only those that 
were most important for our subject) constitutes a severe blow to reactionary moral 
philosophy and especially to religious metaphysics, both of which uphold eternal moral 
values, conceive of the world as being under the rulership of an objective ‘power’, and 
deny childhood sexuality, in addition to confining sexuality to the function of pro- 
creation. However, these discoveries could not exercise a significant influence because 

the psychoanalytic sociology that was based on them retarded most of what they had 
given in the way of progressive and revolutionary impetus. This is not the place to prove 
this. Psychoanalytic sociology tried to analyse society as it would analyse an individual, 
set up an absolute antithesis between the process of civilization and sexual gratification, 
conceived of destructive instincts as primary biological facts governing human destiny 
immutably, denied the existence of a matriarchal primeval period, and ended in a 
crippling scepticism, because it recoiled from the consequences of its own discoveries. Its 
hostility towards efforts proceeding on the basis of these discoveries goes back many 
years, and its representatives are unswerving in their opposition to such efforts. All of this 
has not the slightest effect on our determination to defend Freud’s great discoveries 
against every attack, regardless of origin or source. 

Sex-economic sociology’s line of questioning, which is based on these discoveries, is 
not one of the typical attempts to supplement, replace, or confuse Marx with Freud or 
Freud with Marx. In an earlier passage we mentioned the area in historical materialism 
where psychoanalysis has to fulfil a scientific function, which social economy is not in a 
position to accomplish: the comprehension of the structure and dynamics of ideology, not 
of its historical basis. By incorporating the insights afforded by psychoanalysis, sociology 
attains a higher standard and is in a much better position to master reality; the nature of 
man’s structure is finally grasped. It is only the narrow-minded politician who will 
reproach character-analytic structure-psychology for not being able to make immediate 
practical suggestions. And it is only a political loudmouth who will feel called upon to 
condemn it in total because it is afflicted with all the distortions of a conservative view of 
life. But it is the genuine sociologist who will reckon psychoanalysis’ comprehension of 
childhood sexuality as a highly significant revolutionary act. 

It follows of itself that the science of sex-economic sociology, which builds upon the 
sociological groundwork of Marx and the psychological groundwork of Freud, is 
essentially a mass psychological and sex-sociological science at the same time. Having 
rejected Freud’s philosophy of civilization, it begins where the clinical psychological line 
of questioning of psycho-analysis ends. Psychoanalysis discloses the effects and 
mechanisms of sexual suppression and repression and of their pathological consequences 
in the individual. Sex-economic sociology goes further and asks: For what sociological 
reasons is sexuality suppressed by the society and repressed by the individual? The 
church says it is for the sake of salvation beyond the grave; mystical moral philosophy 
says that it is a direct result of man’s eternal ethical and moral nature; the Freudian 
philosophy of civilization contends that this takes place in the interest of ‘culture’. One 
becomes a bit sceptical and asks how is it possible for the masturbation of small children 
and the sexual intercourse of adolescents to disrupt the building of gas stations and the 
manufacturing of aeroplanes. It becomes apparent that it is not cultural activity itself 
which demands suppression and repression of sexuality, but only the present forms of this 
activity, and so one is willing to sacrifice these forms if by so doing the terrible 
wretchedness of children and adolescents could be eliminated. The question, then, is no 
longer one relating to culture, but one relating to social order. If one studies the history of 
sexual suppression and the etiology of sexual repression, one finds that it cannot be 
traced back to the beginnings of cultural development; suppression and repression, in 
other words, are not the presuppositions of cultural development. It was not until 
relatively late, with the establishment of an authoritarian patriarchy and the beginning of 

the division of the classes, that suppression of sexuality begins to make its appearance. It 
is at this stage that sexual interests in general begin to enter the service of a minority’s 
interest in material profit; in the patriarchal marriage and family this state of affairs 
assumes a solid organizational form. With the restriction and suppression of sexuality, the 
nature of human feeling changes; a sex-negating religion comes into being and gradually 
develops its own sex-political organization, the church with all its predecessors, the aim 
of which is nothing other than the eradication of man’s sexual desires and consequently 
of what little happiness there is on earth. There is good reason for all this when seen from 
the perspective of the now-thriving exploitation of human labour. 

To comprehend the relation between sexual suppression and human exploitation, it is 
necessary to get an insight into the basic social institution in which the economic and sex- 
economic situation of patriarchal authoritarian society are interwoven. Without the 
inclusion of this institution, it is not possible to understand the sexual economy and the 
ideological process of a patriarchal society. The psychoanalysis of men and women of all 
ages, all countries, and every social class shows that: The interlacing of the socio- 
economic structure with the sexual structure of society and the structural reproduction of 
society take place in the first four or five years and in the authoritarian family. The 
church only continues this function later. Thus, the authoritarian state gains an enormous 
interest in the authoritarian family: It becomes the factory in which the state’s structure 
and ideology are moulded. 

We have found the social institution in which the sexual and the economic interests of 
the authoritarian system converge. Now we have to ask how this convergence takes place 
and how it operates. Needless to say, the analysis of the typical character structure of 
reactionary man (the worker included) can yield an answer only if one is at all conscious 
of the necessity of posing such a question. The moral inhibition of the child’s natural 
sexuality, the last stage of which is the severe impairment of the child’s genital sexuality, 
makes the child afraid, shy, fearful of authority, obedient, ‘good’, and ‘docile’ in the 
authoritarian sense of the words. It has a crippling effect on man’s rebellious forces 
because every vital life-impulse is now burdened with severe fear; and since sex is a 
forbidden subject, thought in general and man’s critical faculty also become inhibited. In 
short, morality’s aim is to produce acquiescent subjects who, despite distress and 
humiliation, are adjusted to the authoritarian order. Thus, the family is the authoritarian 
state in miniature, to which the child must learn to adapt himself as a preparation for the 
general social adjustment required of him later. Man’s authoritarian structure - this must 
be clearly established - is basically produced by the embedding of sexual inhibitions and 
fear in the living substance of sexual impulses. 

We will readily grasp why sex-economy views the family as the most important 
source for the reproduction of the authoritarian social system when we consider the 
situation of the average conservative worker’s wife. Economically she is just as 
distressed as a liberated working woman, is subject to the same economic situation, but 
she votes for the Fascist party; if we further clarify the actual difference between the 
sexual ideology of the average liberated woman and that of the average reactionary 
woman, then we recognize the decisive importance of sexual structure. Her anti-sexual, 
moral inhibitions prevent the conservative woman from gaining a consciousness of her 
social situation and bind her just as firmly to the church as they make her fear ‘sexual 
Bolshevism’. Theoretically, the state of affairs is as follows: The vulgar Marxist who 

thinks in mechanistic terms assumes that discernment of the social situation would have 
to be especially keen when sexual distress is added to economic distress. If this 
assumption were true, the majority of adolescents and the majority of women would have 
to be far more rebellious than the majority of men. Reality reveals an entirely different 
picture, and the economist is at a complete loss to know how to deal with it. He will find 
it incomprehensible that the reactionary woman is not even interested in hearing his 
economic programme. The explanation is: The suppression of one’s primitive material 
needs compasses a different result than the suppression of one’s sexual needs. The former 
incites to rebellion, whereas the latter - inasmuch as it causes sexual needs to be 
repressed, withdraws them from consciousness and anchors itself as a moral defence - 
prevents rebellion against both forms of suppression. Indeed, the inhibition of rebellion 
itself is unconscious. In the consciousness of the average non-political man there is not 
even a trace of it. 

The result is conservatism, fear of freedom, in a word, reactionary thinking. 

It is not only by means of this process that sexual repression strengthens political 
reaction and makes the individual in the masses passive and non-political; it creates a 
secondary force in man’s structure - an artificial interest, which actively supports the 
authoritarian order. When sexuality is prevented from attaining natural gratification, 
owing to the process of sexual repression, what happens is that it seeks various kinds of 
substitute gratifications. Thus, for instance, natural aggression is distorted into brutal 
sadism, which constitutes an essential part of the mass-psychological basis of those 
imperialistic wars that are instigated by a few. To give another instance: From the point 
of view of mass psychology, the effect of militarism is based essentially on a libidinous 
mechanism. The sexual effect of a uniform, the erotically provocative effect of 
rhythmically executed goose-stepping, the exhibitionistic nature of militaristic 
procedures, have been more practically comprehended by a salesgirl or an average 
secretary than by our most erudite politicians. On the other hand it is political reaction 
that consciously exploits these sexual interests. It not only designs flashy uniforms for the 
men, it puts the recruiting into the hands of attractive women. In conclusion, let us but 
recall the recruiting posters of war-thirsty powers, which ran something as follows: 
‘Travel to foreign countries — join the Royal Navy I’ and the foreign countries were 
portrayed by exotic women. And why are these posters effective? Because our youth has 
become sexually starved owing to sexual suppression. 

The sexual morality that inhibits the will to freedom, as well as those forces that 
comply with authoritarian interests, derive their energy from repressed sexuality. Now we 
have a better comprehension of an essential part of the process of the ‘repercussion of 
ideology on the economic basis’: sexual inhibition changes the structure of economically 
suppressed man in such a way that be acts, feels, and thinks contrary to his own material 

Thus, mass psychology enables us to substantiate and interpret Lenin’s observation. In 
their officers the soldiers of 1905 unconsciously perceived their childhood fathers 
(condensed in the conception of God), who denied sexuality and whom one could neither 
kill nor want to kill, though they shattered one’s joy of life. Both their repentance and 
their irresolution subsequent to the seizure of power were an expression of its opposite, 
hate transformed into pity, which as such could not be translated into action. 

Thus, the practical problem of mass psychology is to actuate the passive majority of 
the population, which always helps political reaction to achieve victory, and to eliminate 
those inhibitions that run counter to the development of the will to freedom born of the 
socio-economic situation. Freed of its bonds and directed into the channels of the 
freedom movement’s rational goals, the psychic energy of the average mass of people 
excited over a football game or laughing over a cheap musical would no longer be 
capable of being fettered. The sex-economic investigation that follows is conducted from 
this point of view. 

The Authoritarian Ideology of the Family in the Mass Psychology of Fascism 


if, at some future date, the history of social processes would allow the reactionary 
historian time to indulge in speculations on Germany’s past, he would be sure to perceive 
in Hitler’s success in the years between 1928 and 1933 the proof that a great man makes 
history only inasmuch as he inflames the masses with ‘his idea’. In fact, National 
Socialist propaganda was built upon this ‘fuhrer ideology’. To the same limited extent to 
which the propagandists of National Socialism understood the mechanics of their success, 
they were able to comprehend the historical basis of the National Socialist movement. 
This is very well illustrated by an article published at that time entitled ‘Christianity and 
National Socialism’, written by the National Socialist Wilhelm Stapel. He stated: ‘For the 
very reason that National Socialism i s an elementary movement, it cannot be gotten at 
with “arguments”. Arguments would be effective only if the movement had gained its 
power by argumentation.’ 

In keeping with this peculiarity the rally speeches of the National Socialists were very 
conspicuous for their skilful-ness in operating upon the emotions of the individuals in the 
masses and of avoiding relevant arguments as much as possible. In various passages in 
his book Mein Kampf Hitler stresses that true mass psychological tactics dispense with 
argumentation and keep the masses’ attention fixed on the ‘great final goal’ at all times. 
What the final goal looked like after the seizure of power can easily be shown by Italian 
fascism. Similarly, Goring’ s decrees against the economic organizations of the middle 
classes, the rebuff to the ‘second revolution’, which was expected by the partisans, the 
failure to fulfil the promised socialist measures, etc., revealed the reactionary function of 
fascism. The following view shows just how little Hitler himself understood the 
mechanism of his success: 

This broadness of outline from which we must never depart, in combination with 
steady, consistent emphasis, allows our final success to-mature. And then, to our 
amazement, we shall see what tremendous results such perseverance leads to - to results 
that are almost beyond our understanding. 

Hitler’s success, therefore, could certainly not be explained on the basis of his 
reactionary role in the history of capitalism, for this role, had it been openly avowed in 
his propaganda, would have achieved the opposite of that which was intended. The 
investigation of Hitler’ s mass psychological effect has to proceed from the presupposition 
that a fuehrer, or the champion of an idea, can be successful (if not in a historical, then at 
least in a limited perspective) only if his personal point of view, his ideology, or his 

programme bears a resemblance to the average structure of a broad category of 
individuals. This leads to the question: To what historical and sociological situation Jo 
these mass structures owe their genesis? And so the line of questioning of mass 
psychology is shifted from the metaphysics of the ‘fuhrer idea’ to the reality of social life. 
Only when the structure of the fuhrer’ s personality is in harmony with the structures of 
broad groups can a ‘fuhrer’ make history. And whether he makes & permanent or only 
a temporary impact on history depends solely upon whether his programme lies in the 
direction of progressive social processes or whether it stems them. Hence one is on the 
wrong scent when one attempts to explain Hitler’s success solely on the basis of the 
demagogy of the National Socialists, the ‘befogging of the masses’, their ‘deception’, or 
to apply the vague, hollow term ‘Nazi psychosis’, as the Communists and other 
politicians did later. For it is precisely a question of understanding why the masses 
proved to be accessible to deception, befogging and a psychotic situation. Without a 
precise knowledge of what goes on in the masses, the problem cannot be solved. To 
assert that the Hitler movement was a reactionary movement is not enough. The 
NSDAP’s mass success is inconsistent with this supposed reactionary role, for why 
would millions upon millions affirm their own suppression? Here is a contradiction that 
can be explained only by mass psychology - and not by politics or economics. 

National Socialism made use of various means in dealing with various classes, and 
made various promises depending upon the social class it needed at a particular time. In 
the spring of 1933, for example, it was the revolutionary character of the Nazi movement 
that was given particular emphasis in Nazi propaganda in an effort to win over the 
industrial workers, and the first of May was ‘celebrated’ , but only after the aristocracy 
had been appeased in Potsdam. To ascribe the success solely to political swindle, 
however, would be to become entangled in a contradiction with the basic idea of free- 
dom, and would practically exclude the possibility of a social revolution. What must be 
answered is: Why do the masses allow themselves to be politically swindled? The masses 
had every possibility of evaluating the propaganda of the various parties. Why didn’t they 
see that, while promising the workers that the owners of the means of production would 
be disappropriated, Hitler promised the capitalists that their rights would be protected? 

Hitler’s personal structure and his life history are of no importance whatever for an 
understanding of National Socialism. It is interesting, however, that the lower middle- 
class origin of his ideas coincides in the main with the mass structures, which eagerly 
accepted these ideas. 

As is done in every reactionary movement, Hitler relied upon the various strata of the 
lower middle class for his support. National Socialism exposes all the contradictions that 
characterize the mass psychology of the petty bourgeois. Now it is a question of (i) 
comprehending the contradictions themselves, and (2) getting an insight into their 
common origin in the conditions of imperialistic production. We will restrict ourselves to 
questions of sex ideology. 


The fuhrer of the German middle classes in revolt was himself the son of a civil 
servant. He tells of a conflict which is especially characteristic of a middle-class mass 
structure. His father wanted him to become a civil servant; but the son rebelled against 
the paternal plan, resolved ‘on no account’ to obey, became a painter, and fell into 
poverty in the process. Yet alongside this rebellion against the father, a respect for and 
acceptance of his authority continued to exist. This ambivalent attitude towards authority 
- rebellion against it coupled with acceptance and submission - is a basic feature of every 
middle-class structure from the age of puberty to full adulthood and is especially 
pronounced in individuals stemming from materially restricted circumstances. 

Hitler speaks of his mother with great sentimentality. He assures us that he cried only 
once in his life, namely when his mother died. His rejection of sex and his neurotic 
idolization of motherhood are clearly evident in his theory on race and syphilis (see next 

As a young nationalist who lived in Austria, Hitler resolved to take up the fight against 
the Austrian dynasty, which had abandoned the ‘German fatherland to Slavization’. In his 
polemics against the Hapsburgs, the reproach that there were several syphilitics among 
them assumes a conspicuous position. One would not pay any further attention to this 
factor if it were not that the idea of the ‘poisoning of the nation’ and the whole attitude 
towards the question of syphilis are brought up again and again, and later, after the 
seizure of power, constitute a central part of his domestic policies. 

In the beginning Hitler sympathized with the Social Democrats, because they led the 
fight for universal suffrage, and this might have brought about a weakening of the 
‘Hapsburger regime’, which he despised. But Hitler was repelled by Social Democracy’s 
emphasis on class differences, their negation of the nation, the authority of the state, the 
private ownership of the social means of production, of religion and morals. What finally 
caused him to turn away from the Social Democrats was the invitation to join the union. 
He refused and justified his refusal with his first insight into the role of Social 

Bismarck becomes his idol, because it was he who had brought about the unification 
of the German nation and had fought against the Austrian dynasty. The anti-Semite 
Lueger and the German national Schonerer play a decisive role in shaping Hitler’s further 
development. From now on his programme is based on nationalistic-imperialistic aims, 
which he intends to compass with different, more suited means than those used by the old 
‘bourgeois’ nationalists. The means he chooses are determined by his recognition of the 
effectiveness of organised Marxism’s power, by his recognition of the importance of the 
masses for every political movemen t. 

.. . Not until the international world view - politically led by organized Marxism - is 
confronted by a folkish world view, organized and led with equal unity, will success, 
supposing the fighting energy to be equal on both sides, fall to the side of eternal truth. 

(op. cit. p. 384] 

. . . What gave the international world view success was its representation by a 
political party organized into storm troops; what caused the defeat of the opposite world 
view was its lack up to now of a unified body to represent iti Not by unlimited freedom to 

interpret a general view, but only in the limited and hence integrating form of a political 
organization can a world view fight and conquer. 

fop. cit. p. 385] 

Hitler soon recogni2ed the inconsistency of the Social Democratic policies and the 
powerlessness of the old bourgeois parties, including the German National party. 

All this was only the necessary consequence of the absence of a basic new anti- 
Marxist philosophy endowed with a stormy will to conquer. 

fop. cit. p. 173] 

The more I occupied myself with the idea of a necessary change in the government’s 
attitude towards Social Democracy as the momentary embodiment of Marxism, the more 
I recognized the lack of a serviceable substitute for this doctrine. What would be given 
the masses, if, just supposing, Social Democracy had been broken? There was not one 
movement in existence which could have been expected to succeed in drawing into its 
sphere of influence the great multitudes of workers grown more or less leader-less. It is 
senseless and more than stupid to believe that the international fanatic who had left the 
class party would not at once join a bourgeois party, in other words, a new class 

fop. cit. p. 173] 

The ‘bourgeois’ parties, as they designated themselves, will never be able to attach the 
‘proletarian’ masses to their camp, for here two worlds oppose each other, in part 
naturally and in part artificially divided, whose mutual relation can only be struggle. The 
younger will be victorious - and this is Marxism. 

top. cit. p. 174] 

National Socialism’s basic anti-Soviet attitude was evident almost from the beginning. 

... If land was desired in Europe, it could be obtained by and large only at the expense 
of Russia, and this meant that the new Reich must again set itself on the march along the 
road of the Teutonic Knights of old, to obtain by the German sword sod for the German 
plow and daily bread for the nation. 

[op. cit. p. 140] 

Hitler saw himself confronted with the following questions: How is the National 
Socialist idea to be carried to victory? How is Marxism to be combatted effectively ? 
How is one to get to the masses? 

These questions in mind, Hitler appeals to the nationalistic feelings of the masses, 
decides, however, to develop his own technique of propaganda and to employ it 
consistently, thus organizing on a mass basis, as Marxism had done. 

Hence, what he wants - and it is openly admitted - is to implement nationalistic 
imperialism with methods he has borrowed from Marxism, including its technique of 
mass organization. But the success of Ms mass organisation is to be ascribed to the 
masses and not to Hitler. It was man’s authoritarian freedom-fearing structure that 
enabled his propaganda to take root. Hence, what is important about Hitler sociologically 
does not issue from his personality but from the importance attached to him by the 

masses. And what makes the problem all the more complex is the fact that Hitler held the 
masses, with whose help he wanted to carry out his imperialism, in complete contempt. 
Instead of giving many examples in substantiation of this, let one candid confession 
suffice: the mood of the people was always a mere discharge of what was funnelled 

into public opinion from above [op. cit. p. 128].’ 

How were the structures of the masses constituted that they were still capable of 
imbibing Hitler’s propaganda, despite all this? 


We have stated that Hitler’s success is to be ascribed neither to his ‘personality’ nor to 
the objective role his ideology played in capitalism. Nor, for that matter, is it to be 
ascribed to a mere ‘befogging’ of the masses who followed him. We put our finger on the 
core of the matter: What was going on in the masses that they followed a party whose 
leadership was objectively as well as subjectively in diametrical opposition to the 
interests of the working masses? 

In answering this question, we must first of all bear in mind that in its first successful 
onset, the National Socialist move-llp5nr relied upon the broad layers of the so-called 
middle , i.e., the millions of private and public officials, middle-class merchants and 
lower and middle-class farmers. From the joint of view of its social basis, National 
Socialism was a lower middle-class movement, and this was the case wherever it 
appeared, whether in Italy, Hungary, Argentina or Norway. Hence, this lower middle 
class, which was formerly on the side of the various bourgeois democracies, must have 
gone through an inner transformation causing it to change its political position. The social 
situation and its corresponding psychological structure in the lower middle classes offer 
an explanation of the basic similarities as well as differences between the ideology of the 
liberal bourgeoisie and the fascists. 

Fascism’s lower middle class is the same as liberal democracy’s lower middle class, 
only in a different historical epoch of capitalism. In the election years of 1930 to 1932, 
National Socialism polled its new votes almost exclusively from the German National 
Party and the smaller faction parties of the German Reich. Only the Catholic centre 
maintained its position, even in the Prussian election of 1932. It wasn’t until the later 
election that National Socialism also succeeded in making an incursion into the masses of 
industrial workers. The middle class was and continued to be the mainstay of the 
swastika. And it was this class, championing the cause of National Socialism, which 
stepped onto the political tribunal and halted the revolutionary reconstruction of society 
during the most severe economic convulsion the capitalist system had experienced (1929- 
32). Political reaction’s assessment of the middle class’s importance was absolutely 
correct. In a leaflet of the German National Party of 8 April 193 2, we read:’ The middle 
class is of decisive importance for the existence of a state.’ 

After 30 January 1933, the question of the social importance of the middle class was 
widely discussed by the Left. Until then the middle class was given far too little attention, 
partly because all interests were focused on the development of political reaction and the 
authoritarian leadership of the state, and partly because a line of questioning based on a 
psychology of the masses was foreign to the politicians. From now on, the ‘rebellion of 

the middle class’ was given more and more prominence in various places. In following 
the discussion of this question, one noted two principal views: the one contended that 
fascism was ‘nothing other’ than the party guard of the upper middle class; the other did 
not overlook this fact but stressed ‘the rebellion of the middle classes’, with the result that 
the exponents of this view were accused of obliterating the reactionary role of fascism. In 
substantiation of this accusation, one cited the nomination of Thyssen as economic 
dictator, the dissolution of the middle-class economic organizations, and the rebuff to the 
‘second revolution’; in short, fascism’s unadulterated reactionary character, which, from 
about the end of June 1933, became more and more evident and pronounced. 

Certain obscurities were evident in these very heated discussions. The fact that, after 
the seizure of power, National Socialism showed itself more and more to be an 
imperialistic nationalism, which was intent upon eliminating everything ‘socialistic’ from 
the movement and preparing for war with every available means, did not contradict the 
other fact that fascism, viewed with respect to its mass basis, was actually a middle-class 
movement. Had he not promised to take up the fight against big business, Hitler would 
never have won the support of the middle classes. They helped him to achieve victory 
because they were against big business. Owing to the pressure they exerted, the 
authorities were forced to adopt rf»//-capitalist measures, just as the authorities were later 
forced to abandon them under the pressure applied by big business. If the subjective 
interests in the mass basis of a reactionary movement are not distinguished from the 
objective reactionary function -the two contradict one another but were reconciled in the 
totality of the Nazi movement in the beginning - it is not possible to reach an 
understanding. The former pertains to the reactionary interests of the fascist masses, 
while the latter pertains to the reactionary role of fascism. All its contradictions originate 
in the antithesis of these two sides of fascism, just as their reconciliation in the one form, 
‘National Socialism’, characterizes the Hitler movement. Insofar as National Socialism 
was forced to stress its character as a middle-class movement {before the seizure of 
power and right afterwards), it was in fact anti-capitalist and revolutionary. However, 
since it did not deprive big business of its rights and had to consolidate and hold on to the 
power it had secured, its capitalistic function was brought more and more into the 
foreground until finally it became an extreme advocate and champion of imperialism and 
the capitalist economic order. In this respect it is wholly immaterial whether and how 
many of its leaders had an honest or dishonest socialist orientation (in their sense of the 
word I), and it is just as immaterial whether and how many were out-and-out deceivers 
and power-mongers. A radical anti-fascist policy cannot be based on these 
considerations. Everything necessary for an understanding of German fascism and its 
ambivalence could have been learned from the history of Italian fascism, for the latter 
also showed these two strictly contradictory functions reconciled in a totality. 

Those who either deny the function of the mass basis of fascism or fail to give it its 
proper due are stupefied by the fact that the middle class, since it neither possesses the 
principal means of production nor works with them, cannot really be a permanent motive 
force in history, and for that reason must oscillate between capital and the workers. They 
fail to see that the middle class can be and is ‘a motive force in history’, if not 
permanently then at least temporarily, as we learn from Italian and German fascism. By 
this we mean not only the crushing of the workers’ organizations, the countless sacrifices, 
the eruptions of barbarism; over and above this, it prevents the economic crisis from 

developing into a political upheaval, into a social revolution. Clearly: The greater the 
extent and the importance of a nation’s middle-class strata, the more decisive is their 
significance as an effective social force. From 1933 to 1942 we are confronted with the 
paradox that fascism was able to outstrip social revolutionary internationalism as an 
international movement. The Socialists and the Communists were so certain about the 
progress of the revolutionary movement in relation to that of political reaction that they 
committed outright political suicide, even if motivated by the best of intentions. This 
question deserves the greatest of attention. The process that has taken place in the 
middle-class strata of all countries during the last decade deserves far greater attention 
than the banal, all-too-well-known fact that fascism constitutes extreme political reaction. 
The mere fact of fascism’s reactionary nature is no basis for an effective counter political 
policy, as was amply shown by the events between 1928 and 1942, 

The middle class got caught up in the movement and made its appearance as a social 
force in the form of fascism. Therefore it is not a question of Hitler’s or Goring’ s 
reactionary purpose, but a question of the social interests of the middle-class strata. 
Owing to its character structure, the middle class has a social power far in excess of its 
economic importance. It is the class that preserves nothing less than several thousand 
years of patriarchy and keeps it alive with all its contradictions. 

That a fascist movement exists at all is doubtlessly the social expression of 
nationalistic imperialism. However, that this fascist movement could become a mass 
movement, indeed, could seize power (only then fulfilling its imperialistic function), is to 
be ascribed to the full backing it received from the middle class. Only by taking these 
antitheses and contradictions into account, each in its turn, can the phenomena of fascism 
be comprehended. 

The social position of the middle class is determined by (i) its position in the capitalist 
production process, (2) its position in the authoritarian state apparatus, (3) its special 
family situation, which is directly determined by its position in the production process 
and is the key to an understanding of its ideology. There are indeed differences in the 
economic situation of the farmers, the bureaucrats, and the middle-class business-but the 
basic nature of their family situation is the same. 

The rapid development of capitalist economy in the nineteenth century, the continuous 
and rapid mechanization of the amalgamation of the various branches of production in 
monopolistic syndicates and trusts, form the basis of the progressive pauperization of the 
lower middle-class merchants and tradesmen. Not capable of competing with the cheaper 
and more economically operating large industries, the small enterprises go to ruin, never 
to recover. 

‘The middle class has nothing but ruthless annihilation to expect from this system. 
This is the issue: Whether we shall all sink into the great grey bleakness of proletarianism 
where we shall all have the same thing, namely nothing, or whether energy and diligence 
shall again put the individual in a position to acquire property by hard work. Middle class 
or proletarian! That is the issue!’ — so the German Nationals warned before the election 
of the president of the republic in 1932. The National Socialists were not so blunt; they 
were careful not to create a wide gap between the middle class and the body of industrial 
workers in their propaganda, and they were more successful with their approach. 

The fight against the large department stores played a large role in the propaganda of 
the NSDAP. The contradiction between the role played by National Socialism for big 
business and the interests of the middle class, from which it derived its main support, was 
expressed in Hitler’s talk with Knickerbocker: 

‘We will not make German-American relations dependent upon a haberdasher shop 
[the reference is to the fate of the Woolworth store in Berlin] . . . the existence of such 
enterprises are an encouragement of Bolshevism . . . They destroy many small enter- 
prises. For that reason, we will not sanction them, but you can rest assured that your 
enterprises of this nature in Germany will be dealt with no differently than similar 
German enterprises.’ 

Private business debts to foreign countries were an enormous burden to the middle 
class. Since his foreign policy was dependent upon the fulfilment of foreign claims, 
Hitler was for the payment of these private debts. His followers, however, demanded that 
they be annulled. Thus the lower middle class rebelled ‘against the system’, by which it 
understood the ‘Marxist regime’ of Social Democracy. 

As much as these lower middle-class strata were urged, under the stress of the crisis, 
to form organizational alliances, the economic competition of the small enterprises 
nonetheless operated against the establishment of a feeling of solidarity corresponding to 
that of the industrial workers. As a consequence of his social situation the lower middle- 
class man could join forces neither with his social class nor, for that matter, with the 
industrial workers; not with his own class because competition is the rule there, not with 
the industrial workers because it is precisely proletarianization that he fears most of all. 
And yet the fascist movement brought about an alliance of the lower middle class. What 
was the basis of this alliance in the psychology of the masses? 

The answer to this is supplied by the social: position of the lower- and middle-class 
public and private officials. The economic position of the average official is worse than 
that of the average skilled industrial worker; this poorer position is partially compensated 
by the meagre prospect of a career, and in the case of the government official by a 
lifelong pension. Thus dependent upon governmental authority, a competitive bearing 
towards one’s colleagues prevailed in this class, which counteracts the development of 
solidarity. The social consciousness of the official is not characterized by the fate he 
shares with his co-workers, but by his attitude to the government and to the ‘nation’. This 
consists of a complete identification with the state power and in the case of the company 
employee, it consists of an identification with the company. He is just as submissive as 
the industrial worker. Why is it that he does not develop a feeling of solidarity as the 
industrial worker does? This is due to his intermediate position between authority ‘and 
the body of manual labourers. While subordinate to the top, he is to those below him a 
representative of this authority and enjoys, as such, a privileged moral’ (not material) 
position. The arch personification of this type in the psychology of the masses is to be 
found in the army sergeant. 

Butlers, valets and other such employees of aristocratic families are a flagrant example 
of the power of this identification. By adopting-the attitudes, way of thinking and de- 
meanour of the ruling class, they undergo a complete change and, in an effort to 
minimize their lowly origin, often appear, as caricatures of the people whom they serve. 

This identification with authority, firm, state, nation, etc., which can be formulated 7 
am the state, the authority, the firm, the nation’, constitutes a psychic reality and is one of 
the best illustrations of an ideology that has become a material force. At first it is only- 
the idea of being like one’s superior that stirs the mind of the employee or the official, but 
gradually, owing to his pressing material dependence, his whole person is refashioned in 
line with the ruling class. Always ready to accommodate himself to authority, the lower 
middle-class man develops a cleavage between his economic situation and hit ideology. 
He lives in materially restricted circumstances, but assumes gentlemanly postures on the 
surface, often to a ridiculous degree. He eats poorly and insufficiently, but attaches great 
importance to a ‘decent suit of clothes’. A silk hat and dress coat become the material 
symbol of this character structure. And nothing is more suited for a first-impression ap- 
praisal of the mass psychology of a people than its dress. It is its accommodating attitude 
that specifically distinguishes the structure of the lower middle-class man from the 
structure of the industrial worker. 

How deep does this identification with authority go? We know already that such an 
identification exists. The question, however, is how — apart from economic existential 
conditions, which affect him directly - emotional factors reinforce and consolidate the 
lower middle-class man’s attitude to such an extent that his structure does not waver in 
times of crisis or even in times in which unemployment destroys the immediate economic 

We stated above that the economic positions of the various strata of the lower middle 
class are different but that the basic features of their family situation are the same. It is in 
this family situation that we have the key to the emotional foundation of the structure that 
we described earlier. 


In the beginning the family situation of the various strata of the lower middle class is 
not differentiated from the immediate economic position. The family - those of officials 
excluded -also constitutes an economic enterprise on a small scale. The members of a 
small merchant’s family work in his business, thus eliminating the expense of outside 
help. On small and medium farmsteads the coinciding of family and mode of production 
is even more pronounced. The economy of the great patriarchs (the Zagruda, for instance) 
is essentially built upon this practice. In the close interlacing of family and economy lies 
the key to the question why the peasantry is ‘bound to the earth’, ‘traditional’, and for 
that reason so accessible to the influence of political reaction. This does not mean to say 
that it is solely the economic mode of existence that determines the attachment to the 
earth and tradition, but that the farmer’s mode of production entails a strict family tie of 
all members of the family and that this tie presupposes a far-reaching sexual suppression 
and repression. It is from this double base then, that the typical peasant way of looking at 
things arises. Its core is formed by patriarchal sexual morality. Elsewhere I described the 
difficulties encountered by the Soviet government in the collectivization of agriculture; it 
was not only the ‘love of the soil’, but first and foremost the family tie conditioned by the 
soil that created such difficulties. 

For one thing, the possibility of preserving a healthy peasant class as a foundation for 
a whole nation can never be valued highly enough. Many of our present-day sufferings 

are only the consequence of the unhealthy relationship between rural and city population. 
A solid stock of small and middle peasants has at all times been the best defence against 
social ills such as we possess today. And, moreover, this is the only solution which 
enables a nation to earn its daily bread within the inner circuit of its economy. Industry 
and commerce recede from their unhealthy leading position and adjust themselves to the 
general framework of a national economy of balanced supply and demand. 

Mein Kampf p. 138] 

That was the position taken by Hitler. As senseless as it was economically speaking, 
as little as political reaction could ever succeed in checking the mechanization of big 
agriculture and the dissolution of agriculture on a small scale, this propaganda was- 
nonetheless significant from the standpoint of mass psychology, for it had an effect on 
the close-knit family structure of the lower middle-class strata. 

The close interrelation between family tie and rural forms of economy was finally 
expressed by the NSDAP after the seizure of power. Since, with respect to its mass basis 
and ideological structure, the Hitler movement was a lower middle-class movement, one 
of its first measures - intended to secure the middle classes - was the edict issued on 12 
May 1933, on the ‘New Order of Agriculture Ownership’, which, reverted to age-old 
legal codes based on the ‘indissoluble unity of blood and soil’. 

A few characteristic passages are appended here: 

This indissoluble unity of blood and soil is the indispensable presupposition for a 
nation’s health. In Germany rural legislation of past centuries also gave legal guarantees 
to this tie born of a nation’s natural feelings of life. The farmstead was the unsaleable 
inheritance of the ancestral peasant family. Later non-native legislation was imposed and 
destroyed the legal basis of this rural constitution. In many parts of the country, 
nonetheless, the German peasant, having a healthy sense of his people’s basic conception 
of life, persevered in the old custom, handing down the farmstead from generation to 

It is the imperative duty of the government of an awakened people to guarantee the 
national awakening by legal regulation of the indissoluble unity of blood and soil 
preserved by German custom through the law of entail. 

The owner of a farmstead or forestry who is registered as the heir to entailed property 
in the competent district court must pass on his property in accordance with the law of 
entail. The owner of this inherited farm is called a farmer. A farmer cannot own more 
than one farm inherited under this law. Only one of the farmer’s’ children is allowed to 
take over the inherited farm. He is the legal inheritor. The co-inheritors will be provided 
for by the farmstead until they are economically independent. If through no fault of their 
own they fall into straitened circumstances, they also have the right to seek refuge at the 
farmstead in later years. The transfer of a non-registered farmstead, which is nonetheless 
qualified for registration, is governed by the law of entail. 

An entail-inherited farmstead can be owned only by a farmer who is a German citizen 
and of German blood. Only he who has no one among his male ancestry or other ancestry 
of Jewish or coloured origin for four generations is of German blood. Clearly, however, 
every Teuton is of German blood according to the letter of this law. A marriage with a 

person of non-German blood permanently excludes the offspring of this marriage from 
being the owner of a farmstead inherited under this law. 

The purpose of this law is to protect the farmsteads against heavy indebtedness and 
harmful fragmentation in the process of inheritance, and to preserve it as the permanent 
inheritance of the families of free farmers. At the same time the law aims at a healthy 
distribution of the agricultural land. A large number of self-sufficient small and medium 
farmsteads spread throughout the country as evenly as possible is necessary for the 
preservation of a state’s and people’s health. 

What tendencies are expressed in this law? It was at variance with the interests of big 
agriculture, which was intent upon, absorbing the medium and small farmsteads and 
creating ever widening division between landowner and property less rural proletariat. 
But the frustration of this intent was amply compensated by the preservation of the rural 
middle class, in which big agriculture had a considerable interest in view of the fact that 
it represented the mass basis of its power. It is not only as a private owner of property 
that the small landowner is identified with the large landowner. By itself this would not 
mean very much. What is important here is the preservation of the ideologic atmosphere 
of the small and medium property owners, that atmosphere, namely, that exists in small 
enterprises operated by a family unit. It is this atmosphere that is known to produce the 
best nationalistic fighters and to imbue the women with nationalistic fervour. And this 
explains why political reaction is always prattling about the ‘morality-preserving 
influence of the peasantry’. However, this is a sex-economic question. 

This interlacing of individualistic modes of production and authoritarian family in the 
lower middle class is one of the many sources of the fascist ideology of the ‘large 
family’. This question will return later in another context. 

The economic pitting of the small businesses against one another corresponds to the 
family encapsulation and competition typical of the lower middle class, notwithstanding 
the fascist ideology’ common welfare comes before personal welfare’ and ‘corporate 
idea’. The basic elements of fascist ideology,’ fuhrer principle’, family policy, etc., have 
an individualistic character. What is collective in fascism stems from the socialistic 
tendencies in the mass basis, as the individualistic elements stem from the interests of big 
business and the fascist leadership. 

In view of man’s natural organization, this economic and family situation would break 
down, if it were not secured by a specific relationship between man and woman, a 
relationship we designate as patriarchal, and a mode of sexuality derived from this 
specific relationship. 

Economically, the urban middle-class man is not in a better position than the manual 
labourer. Thus, in his efforts to differentiate himself from the labourer, he must rely 
essentially on his family and sexual modes of life. His economic deprivations have to be 
compensated for in a sexual moralistic way. In the case of the official, this motive is the 
most effective element of his identification with the ruling power. Since one is not on a 
plane with the upper middle class but is nonetheless identified with it, the sex-moralistic 
ideologies have to compensate for the economic limitations. Essentially, the sexual 
modes of life and the cultural modes of life dependent upon them serve to differentiate 
him from the lower classes. 

The sum total of these moralistic attitudes, which duster around one’s attitude towards 
sex and are commonly designated as ‘philistine’, culminate in notions of - we say notions 
of, not acts of - honour and duty. The effect of these two words on the lower middle class 
must be correctly assessed, otherwise it will not serve much purpose to concern ourselves 
with them. They appear again and again in the fascist dictator-ideology and race theory. 
Actually it is precisely the lower middle class’s way of life, its business practices that 
impose a completely opposite behaviour. A touch of dishonesty is part of the very 
existence of private merchandizing. When a peasant buys a horse, he runs it down in 
every possible way. If he sells the same horse a year later, it will have become younger, 
better and stronger. One’s sense of ‘duty’ is moulded by business interests and not by 
national character traits. One’s own commodity will always be the best - the other 
person’s always the worst. Deprecation of one’s competitors - a deprecation that is 
usually devoid of all honesty - is an essential tool of one’s ‘business’. The small 
businessman’s obsequious and deferential behaviour towards his customers testifies to 
the fierce pressure of economic existence, which has to warp the best character in the 
long run. Nevertheless the concepts of ‘honour’ and ‘duty’ play a very decisive role in the 
life of the lower middle class. This cannot be explained solely on the basis of efforts to 
conceal one’s crude materialistic background. For, despite all hypocrisy, the ecstasy 
derived from the notions of ‘honour’ and ‘duty’ is genuine. It is merely a question of its 

This ecstasy stems from sources of unconscious emotional life. One does not pay 
much attention to these sources at first, and one is only too happy to overlook their 
relation to the above ideology. However, an analysis of lower middle-class people leaves 
no doubt about the importance of the relation between sexual life and the ideology of 
‘duty’ and ‘honour’. 

For one thing, the political and economic position of the father is reflected in his 
patriarchal relationship to the remainder of the family. In the figure of the father the 
authoritarian state has its representative in every family, so that the family becomes its 
most important instrument of power. 

The authoritarian position of the father reflects his political role and discloses the 
relation of the family to the authoritarian state. Within the family the father holds the 
same position that his boss holds towards him in the production process. And he 
reproduces his subservient attitude towards authority in his children, particularly in his 
sons. Lower middle-class man’s passive and servile attitude towards the fuhrer-figure 
issues from these conditions. Without really divining it, Hitler was building upon this 
lower middle-class attitude when he wrote: 

The people in their overwhelming majority are so feminine by nature and attitude that 
sober reasoning determines their thoughts and actions far less than emotion and feeling. 

And this sentiment is not complicated, but very simple and all of a piece. It does not 
have multiple shadings; it has a positive and a negative; love or hate, right or wrong, truth 
or lie, never half this way and half that way, never partially, or that kind of thing. 

[op. cit. p. 183] 

This is not a question of an ‘inherent disposition’, but of a typical example of the 
reproduction of an authoritarian social system in the structures of-its members. 

What this position of the father actually necessitates is the strictest sexual suppression 
of the women and the children. While women develop a resigned attitude under lower 
middle-class influence - an attitude reinforced by repressed sexual rebellion - the sons, 
apart from a subservient attitude towards authority, develop a strong identification with 
the father, which forms the basis of the emotional identification with every kind of 
authority. How it comes about that the psychic structures of the supporting strata of a 
society are so constructed that they fit the economic framework and serve the purposes of 
the ruling powers as precisely as the parts of a precision machine will long remain an 
unsolved riddle. At any rate, what we describe as the structural reproduction of a 
society’s economic system in the psychology of the masses is the basic mechanism in the 
process of the formation of political ideas. 

It is only much later that the attitude of economic and social competition contributes to 
the development of the structure of the lower middle class. The reactionary thinking that 
is shaped at this stage is a secondary continuation of psychic processes that reach back 
into the first years of a child raised in an authoritarian family atmosphere. For one thing 
there is the competition between the children and the grown-ups, but of more far-reaching 
consequence, there is the competition among children of the same family in their 
relationship to the parents. In childhood this competition, which later in adulthood and in 
the life outside the family is predominantly an economic one, is mainly operative in the 
strong emotional love-hate Relationships among members of the same family. This is not 
the place to pursue these relationships in detail. This is a field of study by itself. Let it 
suffice to say here: the sexual inhibitions and debilitations that constitute the most 
important prerequisites for the existence of the authoritarian family and are the most 
essential groundwork of the structural formation of the lower middle-class man are 
compassed with the help of religious fears, which are infused with sexual guilt-feelings 
and deeply embedded in the emotions. Thus we arrive at the problem of the relation of 
religion to the negation of sexual desire. Sexual debility results in a lowering of self- 
confidence. In one case it is compensated by the brutalization of sexuality, in the other by 
rigid character traits. The compulsion to control one’s sexuality, to maintain sexual 
repression, leads to the development of pathologic, emotionally tinged notions of honour 
and duty, bravery and self-control. But the pathology and emotionality of these psychic 
attitudes are strongly at variance with the reality of one’s personal behaviour. The man 
who attains genital satisfaction is honourable, responsible, brave and controlled, without 
making much of a fuss about it. These attitudes are ah organic part of his personality. The 
man whose genitals are weakened, whose sexual structure is full of contradictions, must 
continually remind himself to control his sexuality, to preserve his sexual dignity, to be 
brave in the face of temptations, etc. The struggle to resist the temptation to masturbate is 
a struggle that is experienced by every adolescent and every child, without exception. All 
the elements of the reactionary man’s structure are developed in this struggle. It is in the 
lower middle classes that this structure is reinforced most strongly and embedded most 
deeply. Every form of mysticism derives its most Active energy and, in part, also it’s 
content from this compulsory suppression of sexuality. Insofar as the various categories 
of industrial workers are subject to the same social influences, they too develop 
corresponding attitudes; yet, owing to the distinct difference in their way of life compared 
with the lower middle class, sex-affirming forces are far more pronounced in them and 
also more conscious. The affective anchoring of these structures by means of 

unconscious anxiety, their concealment by character traits that appear completely 
asexual, are responsible for the fact that these deep layers of the personality cannot be 
reached with rational arguments alone. What importance this statement has for practical 
sex-politics will be discussed in the last chapter. 

To what extent the unconscious struggle against one’s own sexual needs gives rise to 
metaphysical and mystical thinking cannot be discussed in detail here. We will mention 
only one example, which is typical of the National Socialist ideology. Again and again 
we run across series such as this: personal honour, family honour, racial honour, 
national honour. This sequence is consistent with the various layers in the individual 
structure. However, it fails to include the socio-economic basis: capitalism, or rather 
patriarchy; the institution of compulsive marriage; sexual suppression; personal struggle 
against one’s own sexuality; personal compensatory feeling of honour; etc. The highest 
position in the series is assumed by the ideology of ‘national honour’, which is identical 
with the irrational core of nationalism. To understand this, however, it is necessary to 
turn aside from our main theme again. 

Authoritarian society’s fight against the sexuality of children and adolescents, and the 
consequent struggle in one’s own ego, takes place within the framework of the 
authoritarian family, which has thus far proven to be the best institution to carry out this 
fight successfully. Sexual desires naturally urge a person to enter into all kinds of 
relations with the world, to enter into close contact with it in a vast variety of forms. If 
they are suppressed, they have but one possibility: to vent themselves within the narrow 
framework of the family. Sexual inhibition is the basis of the familial encapsulation of 
the individual as well as the basis of individual self-consciousness. One must give strict 
heed to the fact that metaphysical, individual and familial sentimental behaviour are only 
various aspects of one and the same basic process of sexual negation, whereas reality- 
oriented, non-mystical thinking moves along with a loose attitude towards the family and 
is at the very least indifferent to ascetic sexual ideology. What is important in this 
connection is that the tie to the authoritarian family is established by means of sexual 
inhibition; that it is the original biological tie of the child to the mother and also of the 
mother to the child that forms the barricade to sexual reality and leads to an indissoluble 
sexual fixation and to an incapacity to eater into other relations. The tie to the mother is 
the basis of all family ties. In their subjective emotional core the notions of homeland and 
nation are notions of mother and family. Among the middle classes the mother is the 
homeland of the child, just as the family is the ‘nation in miniature’. This will enable us 
to understand why the National Socialist Goebbels chose the following words as the 
motto for his ten commandments in the National Socialist almanac of 1932, doubtlessly 
without knowledge of its deeper connotation: ‘Never forget that your country is the 
mother of your life.’ On the occasion of ‘Mother’s Day’, 1933, Angrijf stated: 

Mother’s Day. The national revolution has swept away everything petty 1 Ideas lead 
again and lead together - family, society, and nation. The idea of Mother’s Day is 
perfectly suited to honour that which the German idea symbolizes: The German Mother 1 
Nowhere does this importance devolve upon the wife and the mother as it does in new 
Germany. She is the protectress of the family life from which sprouts the forces which 
will again lead our nation forward. She -the German mother - is the sole bearer of the 
idea of the German nation. The idea of ‘Mother’ is inseparable from the idea of ‘being 

German’ . Is there anything which can lead us closer together than our mutual honouring 
of the mother? 

No matter how false these sentences are economically and socially speaking, they are 
true from the point of view of the human structure. Thus, nationalistic sentiments are the 
direct continuation of the family tie and are likewise rooted in the fixated tie to the 
mother. This cannot be explained biologically. For this tie to the mother, insofar as it 
develops into a familial and nationalistic tie, is itself a social product. In puberty it would 
make room for other attachments, i.e., natural sexual relations, if sexual restrictions 
would not cause it to be eternalized. It is as this socially motivated eternalization that it 
becomes the basis of nationalist feelings in the adult; it is only at this stage that it 
becomes a reactionary social force. If the nationalist sentiments of the industrial worker 
are far less pronounced than those of the lower middle-class worker, it is to be ascribed to 
the different social life and consequent looser family, ties of the former. 

Now I hope no one will get upset and reproach us with wanting to ‘biologize’ 
sociology, for we know perfectly well that the difference in the industrial worker’s family 
life is also determined by his position in the production process. The question must be 
asked, nonetheless, why it is that the industrial worker is clearly accessible to 
internationalism, whereas the lower middle-class worker has such a strong leaning 
towards nationalism. In the objective economic situation this factor of diversity can be 
ascertained only when the above-described connection between the industrial worker’s 
economic and familial situation is taken into account. It cannot be ascertained in any 
other way. The strange refusal on the part of Marxist theorists to regard family life as a 
factor of equal importance as far as the anchoring of the social system is concerned, 
indeed to regard it as the decisive factor in the formation of the human structure, is to be 
traced back to their family ties. The fact that the family tie is the most intense and the 
most emotional, cannot be overrated. 

The essential connection between familial and nationalistic ideology can be pursued 
further. Families are just as cut off from and opposed to one another as nations are. In 
both cases the ultimate basis for this separation and opposition is an economic one. The 
lower middle-class family (those of officials, lower-income white-collar workers, etc.) is 
continually harassed by food and other material worries. Hence the large lower middle- 
class family’s expansion tendencies also reproduce an imperialistic ideology: ‘The nation 
needs space and food.’ It is for this reason that the lower middle-class man is especially 
accessible to imperialistic ideology. He is capable of fully identifying with the 
personified conception of the nation. It is in this way that familial imperialism is 
ideologically reproduced in national imperialism. 

Goebbels’ statement printed in the brochure Die verfluchten Hakenkreuler (Eher 
Verlag, Munich, pp. 16 and 18) is of interest in this connection. It was written in answer 
to the question whether a Jew is a man. 

If someone cracks a whip across your mother’s face, would you say to him, Thank you 
I Is he a man too!? One who does such a thing is not a man - he is a brute! How many 
worse things has the Jew inflicted upon our mother Germany [italics mine, WR] and still 
inflicts upon her! He [the Jew] has debauched our race, sapped our energy, undermined 
our customs and broken our strength . . . The Jew is the graphic demon of decay . . . 
begins his criminal butchery of people. 

One has to know the importance of the idea of castration as punishment for sexual 
pleasure; one has to comprehend the sexual-psychological background of fantasies of 
ritual murder as well as the background of anti-Semitism as such; and moreover, one has 
to appraise correctly the sexual guilt-feelings and sexual anxieties of the reactionary man, 
to be able to judge just how such unconsciously written sentences impinge upon the 
unconscious emotionality of the average reader. It is in such statements and their 
unconscious emotional impact that we find the psychological roots of National 
Socialism’s anti-Semitism. 

They were supposed to be nothing but’ befogging’. Certainly, befogging also. But it 
was overlooked that, ideologically, fascism was the resistance of a sexually as well as 
economically deadly sick society to the painful but resolute revolutionary tendencies 
towards sexual as well as economic freedom, a freedom the very thought of which instills 
the reactionary man with mortal terror. That is to say: the establishment of economic 
freedom goes hand in hand with the dissolution of old .institutions (particularly those 
governing sexual policies), to which the reactionary man and also the industrial worker, 
insofar as he is a reactionary, are not immediately equal. More than anything else it is the 
fear of’ sexual freedom’, conceived of as sexual chaos and sexual dissipation in the mind, 
of the reactionary thinker, which has a retarding effect upon the yearning to be free of the 
yoke of economic exploitation. This will be the case only as long as this misconception of 
sexual freedom prevails. And it can continue to prevail only in consequence of the lack of 
clarity surrounding these very decisive questions in masses of people. It is precisely for 
this reason that sex-economy must play an essential role in the ordering of social 
relations. The more extensively and deeply the reactionary structure has taken hold of the 
toiling masses, the more decisive is the importance of the sex-economic work of edu- 
cating the masses of the people to assume social responsibility. 

In this interplay between economic and structural factors, it is the authoritarian family 
that represents the foremost and most essential source of reproduction of every kind of re- 
actionary thinking; it is a factory where reactionary ideology and reactionary structures 
are produced. Hence, the ‘safeguarding of the family’, i.e., of the authoritarian and large 
family, is the first cultural precept of every reactionary policy. This is what is essentially 
concealed behind the phrase ‘safeguarding of the state, culture and civilization’. 

An NSDAP election proclamation for the presidential election of 1932 (Adolf Hitler: 
Mein Programm) stated: 

By virtue of her nature and destiny, woman is man’s mate. Thus both man and woman 
are companions in life as well as companions in work. Just as the economic development 
over the centuries has changed man’s sphere of work, it is only logical that it has also 
changed woman’s sphere. Over and above the necessity of working together, it is man’s 
and woman’s duty to preserve man himself. In this most noble mission of the sexes, we 
also discover the basis of their individual talents, which Providence, in its eternal 
wisdom, gave to both of them immutably. Thus, it is the highest task to make the 
founding of a family possible to the mates in life and companions in work. Its final 
destruction would mean the end of every form of higher humanity. No matter how far 
woman’s sphere of activity can be stretched, the ultimate aim of a truly organic and 
logical development must always be the creation of a family. It is the smallest but most 

valuable unit in the complete structure of the state. Work honours both man and woman. 
But the child exalts the woman. 

Under the heading ‘Preservation of the Peasantry Means the Preservation of the 
German Nation’, the same proclamation states: ‘In the preservation and encouragement 
of a healthy peasantry, I further see the best safeguard against social woes as well as 
against the racial decay of our people.’ 

In this respect the traditional family tie of the peasantry must not be forgotten if one 
does not want to make an error. It continues; 

It is my belief that, to build up its resistance, a people must not live solely in 
accordance with rational principles; it also needs spiritual and religious support. The 
poisoning and disintegration of the national body by the events of our cultural 
Bolshevism are almost more disastrous than the effect of political and economic com- 

As a party that, like Italian fascism, owed its initial success to the interests of big 
landowners, the NSDAP had to win over the small and medium farmers, had to establish 
a social basis for itself in them. In this, naturally, it could not openly promote the interests 
of big landowners in its propaganda, but had to direct its appeal to the small farmers, 
specifically to the structures produced in them by the overlapping of the family and 
economic situation. Only with respect to this element of the lower middle class is the 
sentence valid that man arid woman are companions in work. It does not apply to the 
body of industrial workers. Even to the peasant it applies only formally, for in reality the 
peasant’s wife is the peasant’s servant. The prototype and realization of the fascist 
ideology of the hierarchic organization of the state is to be found in the hierarchic 
organization of the peasant family. The peasant family is a nation in miniature, and every 
member of this family is identified with this miniature nation. Thus, the groundwork for 
the absorption of a grand imperialistic ideology is present in the peasantry and in the 
lower middle class where an entire family is engaged in a small enterprise. The 
idolization of motherhood is conspicuous in both cases. How is this idolization related to 
reactionary sexual politics? 


In the individual structures of the masses of the lower middle class, national and 
familial ties coincide. These ties are especially intensified by a process that not only runs 
parallel to it but is actually derived from it. From the standpoint of the masses, the 
nationalistic fuhrer is the personification of the nation. Only insofar as this fuhrer actually 
personifies the nation in conformity with the national sentiments of the masses does a 
personal tie to him develop. Insofar as he knows how to arouse emotional family ties in 
the individuals of the masses, he is also an authoritarian father figure. He attracts all the 
emotional attitudes that at one time were meant for the strict but also protecting and 
impressive father (impressive in the child’s eyes). In discussions with National Socialist 
enthusiasts about the untenability and contradictoriness of the NSDAP programme, one 
often heard it said that Hitler understood all of that much better - ‘he would manage 
everything all right’. Here we have a clear expression of the child’s need for the 
protective attitude of the father. In terms of social reality it is this need for protection on 

the part of the masses of the people that enables the dictator ‘to manage everything’. This 
attitude on the part of masses of people impedes social self-administration, i.e., rational 
independence and cooperation. No genuine democracy can or should build upon it. 

Even more essential, however, is the identification of the individuals in the masses 
with the ‘fuhrer’. The more helpless the ‘mass-individual’ has become, owing to his 
upbringing, the more pronounced is his identification with the fuhrer, and the more the 
childish need for protection is disguised in the form of a feeling at one with the fuhrer. 
This inclination to identify is the psychological basis of national narcissism, i.e., of the 
self-confidence that individual man derives from the ‘greatness of the nation’. The 
reactionary lower middle-class man perceives himself in the fuhrer, in the authoritarian 
state. On the basis of this identification he feels himself to be a defender of the ‘national 
heritage’, of the ‘nation’, which does not prevent him, likewise on the basis of this 
identification, from simultaneously despising ‘the masses’ and confronting them as an 
individual. The wretchedness of his material and sexual situation is so overshadowed by 
the exalted idea of belonging to a master race and having a brilliant fuhrer that, as time 
goes on, he ceases to realize how completely he has sunk to a position of insignificant, 
blind allegiance. 

The worker who is conscious of his skills - he, in short, who has rid himself of his 
submissive structure, who identifies with his work and not with the fuhrer, with the 
international working masses and not with the national homeland - represents the 
opposite of this. He feels himself to be a leader, not on the basis of his identification with 
the fuhrer, but on the basis of his consciousness of performing work that is vitally neces- 
sary for society’s existence. 

What are the emotional forces that are at work here? This is not difficult to answer. 
The emotions by which this fundamentally different mass-psychological type is 
motivated are the same as those that are to be found in the nationalists. It is merely the 
content of that which excites the emotions that is different. The need to identify is the 
same, but the objects of identification are different, namely fellow workers and not the 
fuhrer, one’s own work and not an illusion, the working men of the earth and not the 
family. In short, international consciousness of one’s skills is opposed to mysticism and 
nationalism. But this certainly does not imply a neglect of the liberated worker’s self- 
confidence; it is the reactionary man who begins to rave about’ service to the 
community’, and’ general welfare comes before personal welfare’, at a time of crisis. It 
merely implies that the self-confidence of the liberated worker is derived from the 
consciousness of his skills. 

During the past fifteen years we have been confronted with a fact which is difficult to 
comprehend: Economically, society is divided into sharply defined social classes and 
occupations. According to the purely economic point of view, the social ideology is 
derived from the specific social situation. It follows from this that the specific ideology of 
a class would more or less have to correspond to the socio-economic situation of that 
class. In keeping with their collective working habits, the industrial workers would have 
to develop a stronger collective feeling, while the small businessmen would have to de- 
velop a stronger individualism. The employees of large concerns would have to have a 
collective feeling similar to that of the industrial workers. But we have already seen that 
psychic structure and social situation seldom coincide. We draw a distinction between the 

responsible worker who is conscious of his skills and the mystical-nationalistic 
reactionary subject. We meet with both types in every social and professional class. 
There are millions of reactionary industrial workers and there are just as many teachers 
and physicians who are conscious of their skills and champion the cause of freedom. 
Hence, there is no simple mechanistic connection between social situation and character 

The social situation is only the external condition that has an influence on the 
ideological process in the individual. The instinctual drives through which the various 
social influences gain exclusive control over the emotions are now to be investigated. To 
begin with, this much is clear: Hunger is not one of them; at least, it is not the decisive 
factor. If it were, the international revolution would have followed upon the world crisis 
of 1929-33. This is a sound statement, no matter how dangerous it may be to antiquated, 
purely economic points of view. 

When psychoanalysts unversed in sociology try to explain social revolution as an 
‘infantile revolt against the father’, they have in mind the ‘revolutionary’, who comes 
from intellectual circles. This is indeed the case there. But it does not apply to the 
industrial workers. The paternal suppression of children among the working class is not 
less severe, indeed, it is sometimes more brutal than it is among the lower middle class. 
This is not the issue. That which specifically distinguishes these two classes is found in 
their modes of production and the attitude towards sex which derives from these modes. 
The point is this: Sexuality is suppressed by the parents among the industrial workers 
also. But the contradictions to which the children of industrial workers are subjected 
don’t exist in the lower middle class. Among the lower middle class it is only sexuality 
that is suppressed. The sexual activity of this class is a pure expression of the 
contradiction between sexual drive and sexual inhibition. This is not the case among the 
industrial workers. Along with their moralistic ideology the industrial workers have their 
own - in some cases more and in others less pronounced - sexual views, which are 
diametrically opposed to the moralistic ideology. Moreover, there is the influence 
exercised by their living conditions and their close association in their work. All of this 
runs counter to their moralistic sexual ideology. 

Accordingly, the average industrial worker differs from the average lower middle- 
class worker by his open and untrammelled attitude towards sexuality, no matter how 
muddled and conservative he might be otherwise. He is incomparably more accessible to 
sex-economic views than the typical lower middle-class worker is. And it is precisely the 
absence of those attitudes that are central to national socialistic and clerical ideology that 
makes him more accessible: identification with the authoritarian state-power, with the 
‘supreme fuhrer’, with the nation. This, too, is proof of the fact that the basic elements of 
National Socialist ideology have a sex-economic origin. 

Owing to his individualistic economy and to the extreme isolation of his family 
situation, the small farmer is very accessible to the ideology of political reaction. This is 
the reason for the cleavage between social situation and ideology. Characterized by the 
strictest practice of patriarchy and the morality corresponding to it, the small farmer 
nonetheless develops natural - even if distorted - forms in his sexuality. Just as in the case 
of the industrial workers - in contrast to the lower middle-class workers - farm youths 
begin to have sexual intercourse at an early age; owing to the strict patriarchal education, 

however, the youth is sexually very disturbed or even brutal; sexuality is practised in 
secret; sexual frigidity is the rule among girls; sexual murder and brutal jealousy, as well 
as enslavement of the women, are typical sexual occurrences among the peasantry. 
Hysteria is nowhere so rampant as it is in the country. Patriarchal marriage is the final 
aim of rural upbringing, rigidly dictated by rural economy. 

An ideologic process has begun to take shape among the industrial workers during the 
last decades. The material manifestations of this process are most evident in the pure 
culture of the workers’ aristocracy, but they are also to be noted among the average 
industrial worker. The industrial workers of the twentieth century are not the nineteenth- 
century proletariat of Karl Marx’s time. To a very large extent they have accepted the 
conventions and views of the bourgeois layers of society. To be sure, formal bourgeois 
democracy did not eliminate economic distinctions any more than it did away with racial 
prejudices. Yet the social tendencies that are gaining ground within its compass have 
obliterated the structural and ideologic boundaries among the various social classes. The 
industrial workers of England, America, Scandinavia, Germany, are becoming more and 
more bourgeois. To understand how fascism infiltrates the working classes, has to be 
traced from bourgeois democracy to the ‘emergency powers act’ to the suspension of 
parliament to open fascist dictatorship. 


Fascism infiltrates workers’ groups from two sides: the so-called ‘lumpen proletariat’ 
(an expression to which everyone takes exception) by means of direct material corruption 
and from the ‘workers’ aristocracy’, also by means of material corruption, as well as 
ideological influencing. In its political unscrupulousness, German fascism promised 
everybody everything. In an article by Dr Jarmer, ‘Capitalism’ (Angriff, 24 September 
1931), we find: 

At the German National Party rally in Stettin, Hugenberg spoke out against 
international capitalism with refreshing distinctness. At the same time, however, he 
stressed the necessity of a national capitalism. 

In so doing he once again clearly demarcated the German Nationals from the National 
Socialists; for the latter know only too well that the capitalist economic order which is in 
the process of breaking down throughout the world has to be replaced by a different 
order, because even in national capitalism there can be no justice. 

That sounds almost communistic. Here we have an example of fascist propaganda 
appealing directly and with a consciously fraudulent intention to the revolutionary ardour 
of the industrial workers. But the crucial question was why the National Socialist 
industrial workers failed to see that fascism promised everybody everything. It was 
known that Hitler negotiated with industrial magnates, received financial support from 
them and promised an injunction against striking. Thus, it must have been due to die 
psychological structure of the average worker that such contradictions were not squarely 
faced, despite the intensive work on the part of revolutionary organizations to make him 
conscious of them. In his interview with the American journalist Knickerbocker, Hitler 
had this to say about the recognition of private debts to foreign countries: 

I am convinced that international bankers will soon realize that, under a National 
Socialist government, Germany will be a secure place of investment that a rate of interest 
of about 3% will be most willingly paid for credit. 

[Deutschland so oder so, p. 211 ] 

If it were revolutionary propaganda’s cardinal task ‘to undeceive the proletariat’, this 
could not have been done solely by appealing to their ‘class consciousness’, nor solely by 
constantly impressing upon them the objective economic and political situation, and 
certainly not by constantly exposing the frauds that had been practised on them. The first 
and foremost task of revolutionary propaganda should have been to give the 
contradictions in the workers the most sympathetic consideration, to grasp the fact that it 
was not a clear revolutionary will that was concealed or befogged, but that the 
revolutionary impulse in the psychic structure of the proletariat was partially 
undeveloped and partially interfused with contrary reactionary structural elements. The 
distillation of the revolutionary sentiments of the broad masses is undoubtedly the basic 
task in the process of awakening their social responsibility. 

In times of ‘quiet’ bourgeois democracy two fundamental possibilities are open to the 
industrial worker: identification with the bourgeoisie, which holds a higher position in the 
social scale, or identification with his own social class, which produces its own anti- 
reactionary way of life. To pursue the first possibility means to envy the reactionary man, 
to imitate him, and, if the opportunity arises, to assimilate his habits of life. To pursue the 
second of these possibilities means to reject the reactionary man’s ideologies and habits 
of life. Due to the simultaneous influence exercised by both social and class habits, these 
two possibilities are equally strong. The revolutionary movement also failed to appreciate 
the importance of the seemingly irrelevant everyday habits, indeed, very often turned 
them to bad account. The lower middle-class bedroom suite, which the ‘rabble’ buys as 
soon as he has the means, even if he is otherwise revolutionary minded; the consequent 
suppression of the wife, even if he is a Communist; the ‘decent’ suit of clothes for 
Sunday; ‘proper’ dance steps and a thousand other ‘banalities’, have an incomparably 
greater reactionary influence when repeated day after day than thousands of revolutionary 
rallies and leaflets can ever hope to counterbalance. Narrow conservative life exercises a 
continuous influence, penetrates every facet of everyday life; whereas factory work and 
revolutionary leaflets have only a brief effect. Thus, it was a grave mistake to cater to the 
conservative tendencies in the workers by giving banquets ‘as a means of getting at the 
masses’. Reactionary fascism was much more expert at this. The budding revolutionary 
modes of life were not cultivated. There was more truth about the reactionary structure of 
the workers in the ‘evening dresses bought by the wife of a worker for such a ‘banquet’ 
than in a hundred articles. The evening dress or at-home beer parties were, of course, 
only external manifestations of a process in the worker, a testimony of the fact that the 
groundwork for the reception of National Socialist propaganda was already there. When, 
added to this, the fascist promised the ‘abolition of the proletariat’ and was successful 
with this promise, it was the evening dress and not the economic programme that 
accounted for success in ninety of one hundred cases. We must pay more, much more, 
attention to these details of everyday life. It is around these details that social progress or 
its opposite assumes concrete forms, not around the political slogans that arouse 
temporary enthusiasm only. There is important and fruitful work waiting here. In 
Germany the revolutionary work for the masses was restricted almost exclusively to 

propaganda ‘against hunger’. The basis of this propaganda, as important as it was, proved 
to be too narrow. There are thousands of different things taking place behind the scenes 
in the life of the individuals of the masses. For instance, the young worker has a thousand 
sexual and cultural problems, which plague him as soon as he has appeased his hunger to 
a small degree. The fight against hunger is of primary importance, but the hidden 
processes of human life must also be placed under the fierce light of this monkey show, 
in which we are spectator and actor at one and the same time; and this must be done 
without restraint and without fear of consequences. 

The working man would undoubtedly show himself to be infinitely creative in his 
attempts to develop his own conceptions of life and natural way of viewing things. The 
mastering of everyday social problems would give invincible impetus to the reactionary- 
infested masses. A detailed, concrete, and germane study of these problems is 
indispensable. It will accelerate and secure the victory of the revolution. And please don’t 
raise the threadbare objection that such proposals are Utopian. Only by stressing all 
possibilities of a work-democratic way of life, by taking a militant stance towards 
reactionary thinking and militantly developing the seed of a living culture of masses of 
people, can lasting peace be secured. As long as reactionary social irresponsibility 
predominates over social responsibility, the worker will also be fairly closed to 
revolutionary, i.e., rational, behaviour. This is also another reason psychological work 
among the masses is so imperative. 

The degradation of manual labour (which is a basic element of the inclination to 
imitate the reactionary white-collar worker) constitutes the psychological basis upon 
which fascism relies as soon as it begins to infiltrate the working classes. Fascism 
promises the abolition of the classes, that is to say, the abolition of proletarian status, and 
in this way it plays upon the social inferiority felt by the manual labourer. As long as 
peasants were still migrating to the city to become workers, they brought along a fresh 
rural family ideology, which, as we have already shown, is the best soil for the fostering 
of an imperialistic-nationalistic ideology. In addition to this, there is an ideological 
process in the workers’ movement, which, in the assessment of the chances of a revo- 
lutionary movement in countries having a highly developed industry as well as in those 
countries whose industry was still undeveloped, has been accorded much too little 

Kautsky noted that, politically, the worker in highly in-dustriali2ed England was less 
developed than the worker in industrially undeveloped Russia (Soziale Revolution, 
second edition, pp. 59-60). The political events in the various countries of the world 
during the past thirty years have clearly shown that revolutionary revolts take place more 
readily in industrially undeveloped countries, such as China, Mexico and India, than in 
countries such as England, America and Germany. And this is the case, notwithstanding 
the existence of disciplined, well-organized workers’ movements rooted in old traditions 
in the latter countries. If bureaucratization, which is itself a pathological symptom, is 
abstracted from the workers’ movement, the question arises as to the exceptional 
entrenchment of conservatism in Social Democracy and in the trade unions in Western 
countries. From the standpoint of the psychology of the masses, Social Democracy is 
based on the conservative structures of its followers. As in the case of fascism, the 
problem here lies not so much in the policies pursued by the party leadership as it does in 

the psychological basis in the workers. I want to point out only a few relevant facts, 
which, however, may well solve a riddle or two. Here are the facts: 

In early capitalism, besides the sharp economic division between bourgeoisie and 
proletariat, there was an equally sharp ideologic division-, and particularly a structural 
division. The absence of any kind of social policy, the emasculating sixteen-, indeed 
eighteen-hour workday, the low standard of living of the industrial workers - classically 
described in Engels’ ‘Condition of the Working Classes in England’ - precluded any 
structural assimilation of the proletariat to the bourgeoisie. The structure of the 
nineteenth-century proletariat was characterized by a meek submission to fate. The 
psychological mood of this proletariat, including the peasantry, was one of indifference 
and apathy. Bourgeois thinking was lacking; consequently, this apathy did not hinder the 
sudden outbreak of revolutionary sentiments, if suitable occasions arose and did not 
prevent these sentiments from developing to an unexpected intensity and resoluteness. In 
later stages of capitalism, on the other hand, it was different. If an organized workers’ 
movement had succeeded in winning socio-political improvements - as shorter working 
hours, franchise, and social security - this had the effect of strengthening the working 
class; but at the same time a contrary process set in: With the raising of the standard of 
living, there was a structural assimilation to the middle class. With the elevation of one’s 
social position, ‘one’s eyes turned upward’. In times of prosperity this adaptation of 
middle-class habits was intensified, but the subsequent effect of this adaptation, in times 
of economic crisis, was to obstruct the full unfolding of revolutionary sentiments. 

The strength of the Social Democracies during the crisis years shows just how 
completely the workers had been infected with this conservatism. Thus, this strength was 
not to be explained on purely political grounds. It is now important to comprehend its 
basic elements. Two facts stand out: the emotional tie to the fuhrer, that is to say, the 
unshakableness of the faith in the infallibility of the political leadership (notwithstanding 
all the criticism, which never materialized into action), and the sex-moralistic 
assimilation to the conservatism of the lower middle class. This assimilation to the 
middle class was energetically encouraged by the upper middle class everywhere. The 
Social Democrats should have literally swung their cudgels, in the beginning, at a time 
when fascism had not yet attained victory. Instead, they held them in reserve and used 
them only against the revolutionary workers. For the masses who were- Social 
Democrats, they had a far more dangerous expedient: conservative ideology in all areas. 

When, then, the Social Democrat worker found himself in the economic crisis which 
degraded him to the status of a coolie, the development of his revolutionary sentiments 
was severely retarded by the conservative structuralization that had been taking shape in 
him for decades. Either he remained in the camp of the Social Democrats, 
notwithstanding his criticism and rejection of their policies, or he went over to the N SD 
AP in search of a better replacement. Irresolute and indecisive, owing to the deep 
contradiction between revolutionary and conservative sentiments, disappointed by his 
own leadership, he followed the line of least resistance. Whether he would give up his 
conservative tendencies and arrive at a complete consciousness of his actual 
responsibility in the production process, i.e., at a revolutionary consciousness, depended 
solely on the correct or incorrect leadership of the revolutionary party. Thus the 
communist assertion that it was the Social Democrat policies that put fascism in the 
saddle was correct from a psychological viewpoint. Disappointment in Social 

Democracy, accompanied by the contradiction between wretchedness and conservative 
thinking, must lead to fascism if there are no revolutionary organizations. For example, 
following the fiasco of the Labour party’s policies in England, in 1930-31, fascism began 
to infiltrate the workers who, then, in the election of 1931, cut away to the Right, instead 
of going over to communism. Democratic Scandinavia was also severely threatened by 
such a development. 

Rosa Luxemburg took the view that a revolutionary fight was not possible with 
‘coolies’ (Ges. W. Bd. 4, p. 647). What kind of a coolie are we dealing with: the coolie 
before or after he has gone through conservative structurali2ation? Beforehand we are 
dealing with a coolie who has an almost impenetrable dullness, but also a great capacity 
for revolutionary action. Afterwards we are dealing with disappointed coolies. Would it 
not be more difficult to rouse their revolutionary inclinations? How long can fascism 
exploit the masses’ disappointment in Social Democracy and their ‘rebellion against the 
system’ for its own narrow purposes? As difficult as it may be to answer this momentous 
question, one thing is certain: the international revolutionary movement will have to 
tackle it, if it wants to deal fascism its death blow. 


The Race Theory 


the race theory is German fascism’s theoretical axis. In fascist ideology the economic 
programme of the so-called twenty-five points figures solely as an expedient intended ‘to 
improve the Germanic race genetically and to protect it against racial interbreeding’ 
which, according to the National Socialists, always entails the decline of the ‘higher 
race’. Indeed, it is their contention that even the decline of a culture is to be traced back 
to miscegenation. Hence, ‘keeping the blood and the race pure’ is a nation’s noblest task, 
in the fulfilment of which one must be prepared to make any sacrifice. In Germany and 
the German-occupied countries, no means were spared in putting this theory into practice 
in the form of the persecution of the Jews. 

The race theory proceeds from the presupposition that the exclusive mating of every 
animal with its own species is an ‘iron law’ in nature. Only exceptional circumstances, 
such as captivity, are capable of causing a violation of this law and of leading to racial 
interbreeding. When this occurs, however, nature revenges itself and uses every means at 
its disposal to oppose such infringements, either by making the bastard sterile or by 
limiting the fertility of later offspring. In every crossbreeding of two living creatures of 
different ‘levels’, the offspring will of necessity represent something intermediate. But 
nature aims at a higher breeding of life; hence bastardization is contrary to the will of 
nature. Natural selection also takes place in the daily struggle for survival, in which the 
weaker, i.e., racially inferior, perish. This is consistent with the ‘will of nature’, for every 
improvement and higher breeding would cease if the weak, who are in the no majority, 
could crowd out the strong, who are in the minority. Hence, nature subjects the weaker 
specimens to more severe conditions of life as a means of limiting their number; on the 
other hand, it does not allow the rest to multiply indiscriminately; they are subjected to a 
ruthless selection on the basis of energy and health. 

The National Socialist went on to apply this supposed law in nature to peoples. Their 
line of reasoning was something as follows: Historical experience teaches that the 
‘intermixing of Aryan blood’ with ‘inferior’ peoples always results in the degeneration of 
the founders of civilization. The level of the superior race is lowered, followed by 
physical and mental retrogression; this marks the beginning of a progressive ‘decline’. 

The North American continent would remain strong, Hitler states, ‘as long as he [the 
German inhabitant] does not fall a victim to defilement of the blood that is to say, as long 
as he does not interbreed with non-Germanic peoples. 

‘To bring about such a development is, then, nothing else but to sin against the will of 
the eternal creator.’ These views are unmistakably mystical; nature’ regulates’ and’ wills’ 
‘according to reason’. They are the logical culmination of biological metaphysics. 

According to Hitler, humanity is to be divided into three races: the founders of 
civilization, the upholders of civilization and the destroyers of civilization. Only the 
Aryan race is considered as the founder of civilization, for it built the ‘foundation and 

walls of human creation’. The Asian peoples, the Japanese^ and the Chinese, for 
example, merely took over the Aryan civilization and translated it into their own form. 
Thus, they are upholders of civilization. The Jewish race, however, is a destroyer of 
civilization. The existence of ‘inferior human beings’ is the chief prerequisite for the 
establishment of a higher civilization. Man’s first civilization rested upon the use of 
inferior human races. In olden times it was the vanquished who were made to pull the 
plow, which only much later was pulled by the horse. As conqueror, the Aryan sub- 
jugated the inferior masses and regulated their activity in accordance with Aryan needs to 
compass Aryan ends. However, as soon as the subjugated peoples began to learn the 
language and to adopt the customs of the ‘masters’, and the clear-cut demarcation 
between master and slave was obliterated, the Aryan relinquished the purity of his blood 
and lost ‘his sojourn in paradise’. Through this, he also lost his cultural genius. We are 
not forgetting that Adolf Hitler represents the flowering of civilization. 

Blood mixture and the resultant drop in the racial level is the sole cause of the dying 
out of old cultures; for men do not perish as a result of lost wars, but by the loss of that 
force of resistance which is contained only in pure blood. 

[op. cit. 296] 

An objective and technical refutation of this basic idea is out of the question here. It 
borrows an argument from Darwin’s hypothesis of natural selection, some elements of 
which are as reactionary as his proof of the origin of species from lower organisms is 
revolutionary. Moreover, this idea conceals the imperialist function of fascist ideology. 
For if the Aryans are the sole founders of civilization, then, by virtue of their divine 
destiny, they can lay claim to world dominion. And, in fact, one of Hitler’s principal 
claims was the expansion of the borders of the German empire, especially ‘towards the 
East’, i.e., into Soviet Russian territory. Thus, we can see that the glorification of an 
imperialist war lay wholly within the compass of this ideology. 

. . . The aim for which we were fighting the War was the loftiest, the most 
overpowering, that man can conceive: it was the freedom and independence of our 
nation, the security of our future food supply, and — our national honour. 

Here we are solely interested in the irrational origin of these ideologies, which, 
objectively viewed, were in conformity with the interests of German imperialism; most of 
all we are interested in the contradictions and incongruities existing in the race theory. 
Race theorists who refer to a biological law in support of their theory overlook the fact 
that racial breeding of animals is an artefact. It is not a question whether dog and cat have 
an’ instinctive aversion’ to interbreeding, but whether collie and greyhound, German and 
Slav, have the same aversion. 

Race theorists, who are as old as imperialism itself, want to achieve racial purity in 
peoples whose interbreeding, as a result of the expansion of world economy, is so far 
advanced that racial purity can have a meaning only to a numbskull. We do not want to 
enter into the other absurdities here - as if racial circumscription and not its opposite, 
promiscuous mating within the same species, were the rule in nature. In the present 
examination we are not concerned with the rational content of the race theory, a theory 
that, instead of proceeding from facts to valuations, proceeded from valuations to a dis- 
tortion of the facts. Nor will arguments be of any use against a fascist who is 
narcissistically convinced of the supreme superiority of his Teutonism, if only because he 
operates with irrational feelings and not with arguments. Hence, it would be hopeless to 
try to prove to a fascist that black people and Italians are not racially ‘inferior’ to the 
Teutons. He feels himself to be ‘superior’, and that’s the end of it. The race theory can be 
refuted only by exposing its irrational functions, of which there are essentially two: that 
of giving expression to certain unconscious and emotional currents prevalent in the 
nationalistically disposed man and of concealing certain psychic tendencies. Only the 
latter function will be discussed here. We are especially interested in the fact that Hitler 
speaks of ‘incest’ when an Aryan interbreeds with a non-Aryan, whereas it is usually 
sexual intercourse among those who are related by blood that is designated as incest. 
How are such stupidities to be explained in a ‘theory’ that presumed to be the basis of a 
new world, a ‘third Reich’? When we bear in mind that in the final analysis the irrational, 
emotional basis of such a hypothesis owes its existence to definite existential factors; 
when we free ourselves of the notion that the discovery of such irrational sources of 
views of life, which have come into being on a rational basis, means a shifting of the 
question into the sphere of metaphysics, then we open the way to the source of 
metaphysics itself. We comprehend not only the historical conditions under which 
metaphysical thinking arises, but also its material substance. Let the results speak for 


The failure to differentiate between the objective and subjective functions of an 
ideology frequently results in a misunderstanding of the relation of an ideology to its 
historical function. At the outset, a dictator’s views are to be understood solely in terms 
of the economic basis from which they originated. Thus the fascist race theory and 
nationalistic ideology in general have a concrete relation to the imperialistic aims of a 
ruling class that is attempting to solve difficulties of an economic nature. The German 
and the French nationalism of the First World War appealed to the ‘Greatness of the 
Nation’, behind which were concealed the economic expansion tendencies of German 
and French big business. These economic factors do not constitute what is substantial in 

the corresponding ideology, but only the social soil in which they germinate; in short, 
they constitute the conditions that are indispensable to the genesis of such ideologies. At 
times nationalism is not at all socially represented with respect to its substance; nor for 
that matter can it be brought into line with racial points of view. In Austria-Hungary of 
former days, nationalism did not coincide with race, but with the ‘homeland’ Austria- 
Hungary. In 1914, when Bethmann-Hollweg invoked ‘Teutonism against Slavism’, if he 
had wanted to be consistent, he would have had to proceed against Austria, this 
predominantly Slavic state. Thus we see that, while the economic conditions of an 
ideology give us an insight into its material basis, they offer us no immediate knowledge 
of its irrational core. It is man’s character structure that directly constitutes this core. 
Subject to the specific economic conditions of a society, man reproduces the historical 
economic process in his ideology. By forming ideologies, man reshapes himself; man’s 
material core is to be sought in the process by which he forms ideologies. Thus, ideology 
appears to have a twofold material basis: the economic structure of society and the typical 
structure of the people who produce it, a structure that is itself determined by the 
economic structure of society. Thus it is clear that the irrational formation of an ideology 
also makes man’s structure irrational. 

The structure of fascism is characterized by metaphysical thinking, unorthodox faith, 
obsession with abstract ethical ideals, and belief in the divine predestination of the fuhrer. 
These basic features are linked with a deeper layer, which is characterized by a strong 
authoritarian tie to the fuhrer-ideal or the nation. The belief in a ‘master race’ became the 
principal mainspring of the tie to the ‘fuhrer’ on the part of the National Socialist masses, 
as well as the foundation of their voluntary acceptance of slavish submission. In addition 
to this, however, the intensive identification with the fuhrer had a decisive effect, for it 
concealed one’s real status as an insignificant member of the masses. Notwithstanding his 
vassalage, every National Socialist felt himself to be a ‘little Hitler’. Now, however, we 
want to turn our attention to the charactero-logical basis of these attitudes. We must seek 
out the dynamic functions that, while they themselves are determined by education and 
the social atmosphere as a whole, remould human structures to such an extent that 
tendencies of a reactionary-irrational nature are capable of taking shape in them; to such 
an extent that, completely enveloped in their identification with the ‘fuhrer’, the masses 
are immune to the insult heaped upon them by the label ‘inferior’. 

If we shut our eyes to the dazzling effect of ideologic phraseology, if we focus our 
attention on its irrational content, and if we know how to show its proper bearing upon 
the sex-economic aspects of the process of ideologic formation, then the stereotype 
equating of ‘racial poisoning’ and ‘blood poisoning’ is immediately conspicuous. What 
does this mean? 


‘. .. running parallel to the political, ethical, and moral contamination of the people, 
there had been for many years a no less terrible poisoning of the health of the national 

body . . . [through! syphilis ... ‘ ' 9 The principal cause of this was to be sought in the 
prostitution of love: 

. . . The cause lies, primarily, in our prostitution of love. Even if its results were not 
this frightful plague, it would nonetheless be profoundly injurious to man, since the moral 
devastations which accompany this degeneracy suffice to destroy a people slowly but 
surely. This Jewification of our spiritual life and mammonization of our mating instinct 
will sooner or later destroy our entire offspring. . . . 

[Mein Kampf p. 247] 

Hitler sums up his position as follows: 

Blood sin and desecration of the race are the original sin in this world and the end of 
a humanity which surrenders to it. 

[Mein Kampf p. 249] 

Thus, according to this view, racial interbreeding leads to blood interbreeding and in 
turn to the ‘blood poisoning of the national body’. 

. . . The most visible results of this mass contamination [by syphilis] can be found ... in 
our - children. They in particular are the sad product of the irresistibly spreading 
contamination of our sexual life; the vices of the parents are revealed in the sicknesses of 
the children. 

[Mein Kampf p. 248] 

In this connection, ‘vices of the parents’ can only refer to their interbreeding with 
racially alien blood, i.e., especially with Jewish blood, whereby the Jewish ‘world 
plague’ finds ingress into ‘pure’ Aryan blood. It is remarkable how closely this theory of 
blood poisoning is related to the political thesis of the poisoning of Teutonism by the 
‘world Jew, Karl Marx’. The irrational fear of syphilis constitutes one of the major 
sources of National Socialism’s political views and it’s anti-Semitism. It follows, then, 
that racial purity, that is to say, purity of blood is something worth striving for and 
fighting for with every available means. 

Hitler repeatedly stressed that one could not get at the masses with arguments, proofs 
and knowledge, but only with feelings and beliefs. In the language of National Socialism, 
in that of Keyserling, Driesch, Rosenberg, Stapel, etc., the nebulous and the mystical are 
so conspicuous that an analysis of this peculiarity will certainly prove profitable. 

What was it in the mysticism of fascism that so fascinated the masses? 

The answer is supplied by the analysis of the ‘proofs’ that Rosenberg (Mythus des 20. 
Jahrhunderts) offers in substantiation of the fascist race theory. Right at the outset 
Rosenberg writes: 

The values of a race’s soul, i.e., those values which are the motor forces of the new 
conception of the world, have not yet become a part of living consciousness. Soul, 
however, means race seen from within. Conversely, race is the outer world of the soul. 

[Mythus, p. 22] 

Here we have an example of one of the many typical National Socialist phrases, 
which, on first impression, doesn’t seem to mean anything, indeed, seems intentionally to 
disguise its meaning, perhaps from the author himself. To understand the political- 
irrational impact of precisely such statements, one has to be familiar with and recognize 

the importance of the effect they have on the structure of the masses. Rosenberg goes on 
to say: 

Hence, the history of race is the history of nature and soul mysticism at one and the 
same time; but the history of the religion of the blood is, conversely, the great world 
history of the rise and fall of peoples, of their heroes and thinkers, their inventors and 

The recognition of this fact leads to the realization that the ‘fight of the blood’ and the 
‘intuitive mysticism of existential phenomena’ are not two separate things, but one and 
the same thing represented in different ways. ‘Fight of the blood’, ‘intuitive mysticism of 
existential phenomena’, ‘rise and fall of peoples’, ‘blood poisoning’, ‘Jewish world 
plague’, are all part and parcel of the same line, which begins with ‘fight of the blood’ 
and ends with the bloody terror against the ‘Jewish materialism’ of Marx and the 
genocide of the Jews. 

The cause of freedom is not advanced by merely ridiculing this mysticism; it must be 
unmasked and reduced to its basic irrational content. The greater part of this mysticism 
and what is most important about it is a biological energy process, an extreme expression 
of reactionary sexual ideology, irrationally and mystically conceived. The creed of the 
‘soul’ and its ‘purity’ is the creed of as exuality, of ‘sexual purity’. Basically, it is a 
symptom of the sexual repression and sexual shyness brought about by a patriarchal 
authoritarian society. 

‘Coming to grips with blood and environment, with blood and blood, is for us the last 
attainable reality, behind which it is no longer granted us to search and to investigate,’ 
Rosen-berg states. He errs. We are immodest enough to want to investigate and not only 
to expose, without sentimentality, the living process ‘between blood and blood’, but also 
to demolish a pillar of the National Socialist creed. 

We shall let Rosenberg himself prove that the core of the fascist race theory is a 
mortal fear of natural sexuality and of its orgasm function. Using the ancient Greeks as an 
example, Rosenberg seeks to prove the validity of the thesis that the rise and fall of 
peoples is to be traced back to racial interbreeding and ‘blood poisoning’. According to 
his theory the Greeks were originally the representatives of Nordic racial purity. The gods 
Zeus and Apollo and the goddess Athene were ‘symbols of the most devout piety’, 
guardians and protectors of ‘the noble and the joyous’, ‘keepers of order, teachers of the 
harmony of inner power and of artistic values’. Homer, he claims, had not the least 
interest in the ‘ecstatic’. Of Athene, he writes that she was: 

. . . the symbol of life-consuming lightning, the wise and thoughtful virgin, sprung 
from the head of Zeus: protectress of the Hellenic people and faithful shield of its battles. 

These very pious creations of the Greek soul are proof of the pure, untrammelled inner 
life of the Nordic people; in the highest sense of the word, they are religious confessions 
and expressions of confidence in their own species. 

[My thus, p. 41 ff.] 

These gods, which are said to symbolize purity, sublimity and religiosity, are then 
contrasted to the gods of the Near-Eastern peoples: 

While the Greek gods were heroes of light and heaven, the gods of the non-Aryan 
Near Easterners are imbued with earthly characteristics. 

Rosenberg contends that Demeter and Hermes were the organic offspring of these 
‘souls of race’. Dionysus, the god of ecstasy, sensual pleasure, unbridled maenadism, 
constituted the ‘intrusion of the foreign race of the Etruscans and marked the beginning 
of the decline of Hellenism ’. 

In a far-fetched effort to support his thesis of the soul of a race, Rosenberg quite 
arbitrarily separates the gods into two categories: those that represent the ‘positive’ 
process of Hellenistic cultural development, he labels Greek; while the others, which also 
originated in Hellenism, are described as foreign gods. Rosenberg asserts that historical 
research, which ‘racially falsifies’ and erroneously interprets Hellenism, is responsible 
for our misunderstanding of Greek history. 

In awe and veneration, the great German romantic’s sense how ever darker veils 
enshroud the bright gods of heaven, and they plunge ever deeper into the instinctual, 
amorphous, demonic, sexual, ecstatic, chthonic, into a veneration of the mother [my 
italics, WR]. And all of this was still supposed to be characteristic of the Greeks. 

[My thus, p. 43] 

All forms of idealistic philosophy fail to investigate the conditions under which the 
‘ecstatic’ and ‘instinctual’ come into existence in certain cultural epochs; instead they get 
entangled in the abstract evaluation of these phenomena from the point of view of that 
cultural outlook that, elevating itself so far above the ‘earthly’ (natural), comes to naught 
as a result of that very elevation. We, too, arrive at an evaluation of such phenomena, but 
it is an evaluation based on the conditions of a social process that appear as the symptoms 
of ‘decline’ of a civilization. In this way we are able to recognize the forces that impel 
forward and those that retard, and to comprehend the phenomenon of decline as a 
historical event, and, last but not least, to seek out the seed of the new cultural form and 
to assist its germination. When Rosenberg - in view of the decline of twentieth-century 
authoritarian civilization - reminds us of the fate of the Greeks, he puts himself on the 
side of conservative historical tendencies, despite his protestations of a ‘revival’ of 
Teutonism. If we can succeed in understanding the standpoint of political reaction, we 
shall have gained a significant insight into the attitude towards Cultural Revolution and 
its sex-economic core. For the reactionary cultural philosopher there are only two 
possibilities: resignation and scepticism, or the turning back of the wheel of history by 
‘revolutionary’ means. But if one has shifted the focal point of one’s cultural outlook, has 
recognized in the collapse of an ancient civilization, not the fall of civilization altogether 
but merely the fall of a certain civilization, namely the authoritarian, then a natural 
shifting also takes place in one’s assessment of those cultural elements previously 
appraised as positive or negative. One realizes that the old form is ‘labouring with’ the 
new form of civilization, one based on genuine freedom. It is mainly a question of 
understanding the attitude that the revolution takes towards those phenomena regarded as 
symptoms of decline by political reaction. It is indicative, for example, that the latter 
declares itself in favour of the patriarchal theory in ethnology, whereas the former 
declares itself in favour of the matriarchal theory. Apart from the objective historical 
factors, there are interests at work in these two contrary sociological currents, interests 
that correspond to the previously unknown processes of sex-economy. Matriarchy, which 

is a historically demonstrated system, is not only in accord with the organization of 
natural work-democracy, but also with the society organized on a natural, sex-economic 
basis. Patriarchy, on the other hand, not only has an authoritarian economy, its sex- 
economic organization is catastrophic. 

Long after the Church lost its hold on scientific research, it continued to promulgate 
the metaphysical doctrine of ‘man’s moral nature’, and of his monogamous disposition, 
etc. It was for this reason that Bachofen’s findings threatened to make hay of tradition. 
The amazing thing about matriarchy is not so much its wholly different consanguinity, 
but the natural self-regulation of sexuality that it entails. The social means of production 
are not privately owned in a matriarchy, as Morgan and Engels recognized. As a fascist 
ideologist, Rosenberg had no other choice than to deny the descent of ancient Greek 
culture from matriarchal beginnings (a proven fact) and to seize upon the hypothesis that 
‘in this phase [the Dionysian] the Greeks assumed characteristics which were both 
physically and spiritually alien to their culture.’ 

In contrast to Christian ideology (as we shall see later), fascist ideology separates 
man’s orgastic yearning from the human structure produced under authoritarian 
patriarchy and relates it to various races: Nordic is equated to bright, majestic, heavenly, 
asexual, pure, whereas ‘Near Eastern’ is equated to instinctual, demonic, sexual, 
ecstatic, orgastic. This explains why Bachofen’s ‘intuitive and romantic’ investigations 
were rejected as the theory of that which only ‘appears to be’ ancient Greek life. In the 
fascist race theory the orgasm anxiety of the man subjugated to authority appears in an 
absolute form, eternalized as the ‘pure’ and contrasted with the animal-like and orgastic. 
Thus, ‘what is Greek’ and ‘what is racial’ become an emanation of ‘what is pure’, what is 
‘asexual’; while ‘what is racially alien’, ‘the Etruscan’, is related to ‘what is animal’ and 
therefore ‘inferior’. In keeping with this line of reasoning, patriarchy is taken as the 
source of the human history of the Aryans: 

The first great historically decisive battle between racial values was carried out on 
Greek soil, a battle decided in favour of the Nordic nature. From this point on man 
approaches life from daylight, from life itself: everything which we call Greek culture 
and our great heritage from antiquity, originated from the law of light and of heaven, 
from the spirit and nature of the father. 


The patriarchal authoritarian sexual order that resulted from the revolutionary 
processes of latter-day matriarchy (economic independence of the chief’s family from the 
maternal gens, a growing exchange of goods between the tribes, development of the 
means of production, etc.) becomes the primary basis of authoritarian ideology by 
depriving the women, children and adolescents of their sexual freedom, making a 
commodity of sex and placing sexual interests in the service of economic subjugation. 
From now on, sexuality is indeed distorted; it becomes diabolical and demonic and has to 
be curbed. In terms of patriarchal demands, the innocent sensuousness of matriarchy 
appears as the lascivious unchaining of dark powers. The Dionysian becomes ‘sinful 
yearning’, which patriarchal culture can conceive of only as something chaotic and’ 
dirty’. Surrounded by and imbued with human sexual structures that have become 
distorted and lascivious, patriarchal man is shackled for the first time in an ideology in 
which sexual and dirty, sexual and vulgar or demonic, become inseparable associations. 

Secondarily, however, this evaluation also has a rational justification. 

With the imposition of chastity, women become unchaste under the pressure of their 
sexual demands; the sexual brutality on the part of the male, and the corresponding con- 
ception on the part of the female that for her the sexual act is something disgraceful, takes 
the place of natural orgastic sensuousness. Extramarital sexual intercourse, to be sure, is 
not done away with anywhere. With the shifting of the valuation and the abolition of the 
institutions that previously protected and sanctioned it in a matriarchal society, it 
becomes involved in a conflict with official morality and is forced to lead a clandestine 
existence. The change in the social attitude towards sexual intercourse also effects a 
change in the inner experience of sexuality. The conflict that is now created between the 
natural and ‘sublime morality’ disturbs the individual’s ability to gratify his needs. The 
feeling of guilt now associated with sexuality cleaves the natural, orgastic course of 
sexual coalescence and produces a damming up of sexual energy, which later breaks out 
in various ways. Neuroses, sexual aberrations and antisocial sexuality become permanent 
social phenomena. Childhood and adolescent sexuality, which were given a positive 
value in the original matriarchal work-democracy, fall prey to systematic suppression, 
which differs only in form. As time goes on, this sexuality, which is so distorted, 
disturbed, brutalized and prostituted, advocates the very ideology to which it owes its 
origin. Those who negate sexuality can now justifiably point to it as something brutal and 
dirty. That this dirty sexuality is not natural sexuality but merely patriarchal sexuality is 
simply overlooked. And the sexology of latter-day capitalistic patriarchy is no less 
affected by this evaluation than the vulgar views. This condemns it to complete sterility. 

Later we shall see how religious mysticism becomes the organized centre of these 
evaluations and ideologies. For the present we must merely bear in mind that religious 
mysticism denies the sex-economic principle altogether and condemns sexuality as a 
sinful phenomenon of humanity, from which only the Hereafter can deliver us. 
Nationalistic fascism, on the other hand, transfers sexual sensuality to the ‘alien race’, 
which is relegated to an inferior status in this way. From now on, the depreciation of the 
‘alien race’ coincides organically with latter-day patriarchal imperialism. 

In Christian mythology, God never appears without his counterpart the Devil, as the 
‘God of the Underworld’, and the victory of the divine God over the infernal God 
becomes the symbol of human elevation. This confrontation is also depicted in Greek 
mythology by the struggle between orgastic biosexuality and strivings that demand 
chastity. To the abstract moralist and to the mystifying philosopher, this confrontation 
appears as the wrestling of two essences or ‘human ideas’, one of which is regarded as 
vulgar from the outset, while the other is looked upon as the ‘truly human’ or 
‘superhuman’. However, if this ‘struggle of essences’ as well as the valuations attached 
to them are traced to their material fountainhead, if they are arranged in their proper place 
in the sociological fabric and sexuality is given its due as a historical factor, we arrive at 
the following facts: every tribe that developed from a matriarchal to a patriarchal 
organization had to change the sexual structure of its members to produce a sexuality in 
keeping with its new form of life. This was a necessary change because the shifting of 
power and of wealth from the democratic gens to the authoritarian family of the chief was 
mainly implemented with the help of the suppression of the sexual strivings of the 
people. It was in this way that sexual suppression became an essential factor in the 
division of society into classes. 

Marriage, and the lawful dowry it entailed, became the axis of the transformation of 
the one organization into the other. In view of the fact that the marriage tribute of the 
wife’s gens to the man’s family strengthened the male’s, especially the chief’s, position 
of power, the male members of the higher ranking gens and families developed a keen 
interest in making the nuptial ties permanent. At this stage, in other words, only the man 
had an interest in marriage. In this way natural work-democracy’s simple alliance, which 
could be easily dissolved at any time, was transformed into the permanent and mono- 
gamous marital relationship of patriarchy. The permanent monogamous marriage became 
the basic institution of patriarchal society - which it still is today. To safeguard these mar- 
riages, however, it was necessary to impose greater and greater restrictions upon and to 
depreciate natural genital strivings. This applied not only to the ‘lower’ class, which was 
subjected to greater and greater exploitation. It was precisely those classes that until then 
had not known any cleavage between morality and sexuality that were now forced to 
experience this ever deepening conflict. But let it not be assumed that this compulsive 
morality had an external effect only; its full force is not felt until it has become 
internalized, until it has become a sexual inhibition anchored in the structure. Different 
aspects of the conflict will predominate during different stages of this process. In the 
initial stages, it is sexual need that wins the upper hand; later it is the compulsive moral 
inhibition that prevails. When the entire social organization is plunged into a state of 
political upheaval, the conflict between sexuality and compulsive morality will of 
necessity reach an acute peak. Some will view this state of affairs as moral degeneration, 
while others will see it as a ‘sexual revolution’. In any event, it is the breakthrough of 
natural sexuality that is looked upon as ‘cultural degeneration’. This breakthrough is felt 
to be ‘degeneration’ only because it constitutes a threat to compulsive morality. Viewed 
objectively, it is only the system of sexual dictatorship that breaks down, a system 
devised to preserve compulsive moralistic values in the individual in the interest of 
authoritarian marriage and family. Among the ancient Greeks, whose written history does 
not begin until patriarchy had reached a state of full development, we find the following 
sexual organization: male supremacy, hetaerae for the upper classes and prostitution for 
the middle and lower classes; and along with this the wives leading an enslaved and 
wretched existence and figuring solely as birth machines. The male supremacy of the 
Platonic era is entirely homosexual. 

The sex-economic contradictions of latter-day Greece appeared at a time when the 
affairs of the Greek state were politically and economically on the downgrade. To the 
fascist Rosenberg, the ‘chthonian’ becomes intermixed with the ‘apollonian’ in the 
Dionysian era, and they perish together. The phallus, Rosenberg writes, becomes the 
symbol of the latter-day Greek conception of the world. For the fascists, therefore, the 
return of natural sexuality is viewed as a sign of decadence, lasciviousness, lechery and 
sexual filth. This, however, is not merely fascist fantasy; it corresponds to the actual 
situation created by the burning contradiction in the mode of experience of the people of 
such an epoch. The ‘Dionysian feasts’ correspond to the masquerades and costume balls 
of our reactionary classes. However, one must know exactly what occurs at such feasts 
not to fall prey to the common deception of seeing in this ‘Dionysian’ happening the 
epitome of sexual experience. Nowhere are the indissoluble contradictions between 
dissolute sexual yearnings and a capacity for experience debilitated by morality more 
glaringly exposed than at such feasts. ‘Dionysos’ law of limitless sexual gratification 

means uninhibited racial interbreeding between Greeks and Asiatics of all tribes and 
varieties [Mythus, p. 52].’ Just imagine a historian of the year 4000 representing the 
sexual feasts of the twentieth century as the uninhibited interbreeding of the Germans 
with the blacks and the Jews ‘of all tribes and varieties’ ! 

In this we clearly recognize the meaning of the idea of racial interbreeding. It is a 
defence against the Dionysian, a defence rooted in patriarchal society’s economic interest 
in marriage. Hence, even in the story of Jason, compulsive marriage figures as the 
bulwark against hetaerism. 

‘Hetaerae’ are women who refuse to submit to the yoke of compulsive marriage and 
insist on their right to determine their own sex life. However, this demand gets involved 
in a conflict with early childhood education, which incapacitates the organism’s capacity 
for sexual experience. 

Hence, the hetaera plunges herself into one adventure after the other to escape her 
homosexuality, or she lives a disturbed and disintegrated existence in both directions at 
once. Hetaerism is supplemented by male homosexuality. Owing to their compulsive 
marital life, the men flee to the hetaerae and voluptuaries in an effort to restore their 
capacity for sexual experience. Understandably, the sexual structure of the fascists, who 
affirm the most severe form of patriarchy and actually reactivate the sexual life of the 
Platonic era in their familial mode of living - i.e., ‘purity’ in ideology, disintegration and 
pathology in actual practice — must bear a resemblance to the sexual conditions of the 
Platonic era. Rosenberg and Bliiher recognize the state solely as a male state organized 
on a homosexual basis. It is very curious to see how the view of the worthlessness of 
democracy emerges from this ideology. Pythagoras is rejected because he came out as the 
prophet of the equality of all people, as the ‘herald of democratic Tel-lurism, of the 
community of goods and females’. This idea of the inner association of the ‘community 
of goods and females plays a central role in the antirevolutionary fight. The 
democratization of Roman patrician rule, which provided three hundred senators from 
three hundred aristocratic families until the fifth century, is traced back to the fact that 
intermarriages between patricians and plebeians were permitted from the fifth century on, 
and that this led to a ‘racial deterioration’. Thus, even the democratization of a political 
system brought about through intermarriages is interpreted as a sign of racial decline. It is 
here that the reactionary character of the race theory is thoroughly exposed, for now 
sexual intercourse between Greeks and Romans belonging to different classes is looked 
upon as ruinous racial interbreeding. Members of the suppressed class are equated with 
those who are racially alien. At another point Rosenberg speaks of the workers’ 
movement as the ‘ascending of the asphalt-humanity of the big cities with all the refuse 
of Asianism [Mythus, p. 66]’. Thus, behind the idea of the interbreeding with alien races 
lies the idea of sexual in tercourse with members of the suppressed class. And operating at 
an even deeper level is the tendency of political reaction to draw lines of demarcation, 
which are rigid from an economic viewpoint, but are completely nonexistent from a 
sexual-moralistic viewpoint owing to the sexual restrictions imposed upon middle-class 
women. At the same time, however, sexual interbreeding between classes means an 
undermining of class rule; it creates the possibility of ‘democratization’, that is to say, the 
possibility of the proletarianization of the ‘aristocratic’ youth. For the lower social strata 
of every social order develop sexual conceptions and habits that constitute a serious 
threat to the rulers of every authoritarian order. 

If, in the final analysis, it is the idea of the interbreeding of members of the ruling 
class with members of the ruled class that lies at the root of the idea of racial 
interbreeding, then we obviously have here the key to the question as to the role played 
by sexual suppression in class society. In this connection we can differentiate several 
functions. We know, for instance, that material suppression relates solely to the lower 
classes; but on no account can we assume that the same holds true for sexual suppression. 
The relations of sexual suppression to class society are much more complicated. At this 
time we want to single out only two of these functions: 

1 . Since sexual suppression has its origin in the economic interest of marriage and the 
law of inheritance, it begins within the ruling class itself. At first the morality of chastity 
applies most rigidly to the female members of the ruling class. This is intended to 
safeguard those possessions that were acquired through the exploitation of the lower 

2. In early capitalism and in the large feudal societies of Asia the ruling class is not yet 
interested in a sexual suppression of the enslaved classes. It is when the materially 
suppressed classes begin to organize themselves, begin to fight for socio-political 
improvements and to raise the cultural level of the broad masses, that sexual-moralistic 
inhibitions set in. Only then does the ruling caste begin to show an interest in the 
‘morality’ of the suppressed classes. Thus, parallel to the rise of the organized working 
class, a contrary process sets in, namely the ideological assimilation to the ruling class. 

Their own sexual habits are not relinquished in this process, however; they continue to 
exist alongside the moralistic ideologies, which, from now on, become more and more 
entrenched. This results in the previously described contradiction in the human structure 
between reactionary and freedom-aspiring tendencies. Historically, the development of 
this contradiction in the structure of the masses coincides with the loosening of feudal 
absolutism through bourgeois democracy. To be sure, exploitation has merely undergone 
a change in form; but this change entails a change in the character structure of the 
masses. These are the facts to which Rosenberg gives a mystical interpretation when he 
writes that the primordial god of the earth, Poseidon, repelled by Athene the goddess of 
asexuality, rules in the form of a serpent in the ground beneath her temple, in the same 
way as the ‘Pelasgic python dragon’ rules beneath the temple of Apollo in Delphi. ‘But 
the Nordic Theseus did not kill the Asiatic brutes everywhere; as soon as Aryan blood 
begins to slumber, the foreign monster springs up again and again - that Asiatic 
mongrelism and physical robustness of Eastern man.’ 

It is clear what is meant by ‘physical robustness’. It is that remnant of sexual 
spontaneity that distinguishes the members of the suppressed classes from the ruling 
class, that same spontaneity, namely, that is gradually blunted in the course of ‘ 
democratization’ but is never completely lost. Psychologically, the serpent Poseidon and 
the Python dragon represent genital sensuality symbolized as the phallus. Genital 
sensuality has been suppressed, has become subterranean in both society’s and man’s 
structure, but it is still alive. The feudal upper class, which has a direct interest in the 
renunciation of natural sexuality (cf. Japan), feels itself threatened by the more elemental 
sexual habits of the suppressed classes, all the more so because it itself has not only not 
mastered its own sensuality, but sees it, on the contrary, reappearing in its own class in a 
distorted and perverse form. Thus, the sexual customs of the masses constitute not only a 

psychological but also a social danger to the ruling class; above all, the latter senses a 
threat to its institution of the family. As long as the ruling castes are economically strong 
and in the ascendancy, it is not difficult for them to maintain a total sexual-moralistic 
separation from the masses. An example of this was the English bourgeoisie around the 
middle of the nineteenth century. In periods when their rulership is shaken, and 
particularly when there is an outright crisis (as has existed, for example in Central Europe 
and England since the beginning of the twentieth century), the moral restrictions imposed 
on sexuality are loosened within the ruling class itself. The disintegration of sexual 
moralism begins with the liquidation of family ties. At first the middle and lower middle 
classes, in complete identification with the upper class and its morals, become the real 
champions of the official, strongly defended anti-sexual morality. It is precisely when the 
economy of the lower middle classes shows signs of breaking down that natural sexuality 
must appear as a particular threat to the continued existence of sexual institutions. Since 
the lower middle class is the mainstay of the authoritarian order, the latter attaches 
special importance to its ‘morality’ and to its ‘remaining uncontaminated’ by the 
‘influence of inferior races’. If the lower middle class would lose its moralistic attitude 
towards sex to the same extent that it loses its intermediate economic position between 
the industrial worker and the upper class, this would constitute a very grave threat to any 
dictator. For the ‘python dragon’ is also lurking among the lower middle class, ever ready 
to shatter its shackles and, consequently, its reactionary tendencies. It is for this reason 
that, in times of crisis, a dictatorial power always steps up its propaganda for’ morality’ 
and the’ strengthening of the bonds of marriage and the family’. For it is the authoritarian 
family that constitutes the bridge from the wretched social situation of the lower middle 
class to reactionary ideology. If the compulsive family is undermined by economic crises, 
proletarianization of the middle class and wars, then the authoritarian system, which is so 
firmly entrenched in the structure of the masses, is also seriously threatened. We shall 
have to enter into this question more thoroughly. Thus, we have to agree with Leng, the 
National Socialist biologist and race theorist from Munich, who asserted that the 
authoritarian family was the core of cultural politics. He made this statement at a meeting 
of the National Socialist society’ Deutscher Staat’ in 193 2. We can add that it is the core 
of reactionary as well as of revolutionary cultural politics, for these observations have 
far-reaching social consequences. 


The Symbolism of the Swastika 

We have satisfied ourselves that fascism is to be regarded as a problem of the masses 
and not as a problem of Hitler as a person or the politics of the National Socialist party. 
We have demonstrated how it is possible for an impoverished mass of people to turn to 
an arch reactionary party in such a tumultuous way. In order now to proceed step by step 
to the practical consequences that derive from this investigation for sexual political work, 
it is first of all necessary to turn our attention to the symbolism that the fascists made use 
of to put the comparatively uninhibited structures of the masses into reactionary fetters. 
The fascists were not conscious of their technique. 

It did not take National Socialism long to rally workers, most of whom were either 
unemployed or still very young, into the S A. To a large extent, however, these workers 
were revolutionary in a dull sort of way and still maintained an authoritarian attitude. For 
this reason National Socialist propaganda was contradictory; its content was determined 
by the class for which it was intended. Only in its manipulation of the mystical feelings 
of the masses was it clear and consistent. 

In talks with followers of the National Socialist party and especially with members of 
the SA, it was clearly brought out that the revolutionary phraseology of National 
Socialism was the decisive factor in the winning over of these masses. One heard 
National Socialists deny that Hitler represented capital. One heard SA men warn Hitler 
that he must not betray the cause of the ‘revolution’. One heard SA men say that Hitler 
was the German Lenin. Those who went over to National Socialism from Social 
Democracy and the liberal central parties were, without exception, revolutionary-minded 
masses who were either non-political or politically undecided prior to this. Those who 
went over from the Communist party were often revolutionary elements who simply 
could not make any sense of many of the German Communist party’s contradictory 
political slogans. In part they were men upon whom the external features of Hitler’s 
party, its military character, its assertiveness, etc., made a big impression. 

To begin with, it is the symbol of the flag that stands out among the symbols used for 
purposes of propaganda. 

Wir sind das Fleer vom Hakenkreuz 
Hebt hoch die roten Fahnen, 

Der deutschen Arbeit wollen wir 
Den Weg zur Freiheit bahnen 

With respect to its emotional content, this text is clearly revolutionary. National 
Socialists made conscious use of revolutionary melodies, to which they sang reactionary 
lyrics. The hundreds of political formulations appearing in Hitler’s newspapers were also 
constructed along these lines. For example: 

The political bourgeoisie is about to make its exit from the stage of historical 
dramatization. It is the hitherto suppressed class, the producing people of fist and brow, 
the working class, which now enters upon the stage to fulfil its historical mission. 

This is a clear echo of communist propaganda. The revolutionary character of the 
National Socialist masses clearly stands out in the clever design of the flag, about which 
Hitler wrote: 

... As National Socialists, we see our programme in our flag. In red we see the social 
idea of the movement, in white the nationalistic idea, in the swastika the mission of the 
struggle for the victory of the Aryan man, and, by the same token, the victory of the idea 
of creative work, which as such always has been and always will be anti-Semitic. 

[Mein Kampf p. 496f.l 

The red and the white are suggestive of man’s contradictory structure. What is still not 
clear is the role played by the swastika in the emotional life. Why is this symbol so 
suitable to evoke mystical feelings? Hitler contended that it was a symbol of anti- 
Semitism. But the swastika took on this meaning only much later. And, as far as that 

goes, the question as to the irrational content of anti-Semitism is still open. It is the 
misrepresentation of natural sexuality as something which is ‘dirty and sensual’ that 
explains the irrational content of the race theory. In this regard the Jew and the black man 
are not differentiated in the mind of the fascist. This holds true for the American fascist 
also. In America the racial fight against the black man takes place predominantly in the 
sphere of sexual defence. The black man is thought of as a sensuous pig who rapes white 
women. With reference to the occupation of the Rheinland by black troops, Hitler wrote: 

Only in France does there exist today more than ever an inner unanimity between the 
intentions of the Jew-controlled stock exchange and the desire of the chauvinist-minded 
national statesmen. But in this very identity there lies an immense danger for Germany. 
For this very reason, France is and remains by far the most terrible enemy. This people , 
which is basically becoming more and more negrified, constitutes in its tie with the aims 
of Jewish world domination an enduring danger for the existence of the white race in 
Europe. For the contamination by Negro blood on the Rhine in the heart of Europe is just 
as much in keeping with the perverted sadistic thirst for vengeance of this hereditary 
enemy of our people as the ice-cold calculation of the Jew thus to begin bastardizing the 
European continent at its core and to deprive the white race of the foundations for a 
sovereign existence through infection with lower humanity. 

[op. cit. p. 6241 

We must get into the habit of paying strict attention to precisely what the fascist has to 
say and not to dismiss it as nonsense or hogwash. Now we have a better understanding of 
the emotional content of this theory, which sounds like a persecution mania when it is 
considered together with the theory of the poisoning of the nation. The swastika also has 
content capable of stirring the deepest reaches of one’s emotions, but in a way completely 
different from what Hitler could ever have dreamed. 

To begin with, the swastika was also found among the Semites, namely, in the Myrtle 
court of the Alhambra at Granada. Herta Heinrich found it in the synagogue ruins of Edd- 
Dikke in East Jordania on the Lake of Gennesaret. Here it had the following form: 

The swastika is often found together with a facet, the former being the symbol of the 
male principle, the latter of the female principle. Percy Gardner found it in Greece, where 
it was called Hemera and was the symbol of the sun, again representing the male 
principle. Lowenthal describes a fourteenth-century swastika, which he discovered in the 
altar cloth of Maria zur Wiese in Soest; here the swastika is embellished with vulva and a 
double cross. In this instance the swastika appears as the symbol of a stormy sky, the 
facet as the symbol of the fertile earth. Smigorski discovered a swastika in the form of 
the Indian swastika-cross, a four-pronged lightning with three dots at the end of each 

Lichtenberg found swastikas with a skull in place of the three dots. Thus the swastika 
was originally a sexual symbol. In the course of time it assumed various meanings 
including that of a millwheel, the symbol of work. From an emotional point of view, 
work and sexuality were originally the same. This explains the inscription on the 
swastika discovered by Bilmans and Pengerots on the mitre of St Thomas a Becket, 
dating back to Indo-Germanic times: 

‘Hail to thee earth, 0 mother of man. May you thrive in God’s embrace? Overflow 
with fruit for man’s benefit.’ 

Here fertility is sexually represented as the sexual act of Mother-Earth with God- 
Father. According to Zelenin, old Indian lexicographers referred to both the cock and the 
voluptuary as swastikas, i.e. the hooked cross as the symbol of sexual instinct. 

If we now have another look at the swastikas on the preceding page, we see that they 
are the schematic but nonetheless clearly recognizable representations of two interlocked 
human figures. The swastika on the left represents a sexual act lying down; the one of 
the right, a sexual act in standing position. Thus, the swastika represents a basic living 

The effect of the swastika on one’s unconscious emotionality does not account for the 
success of fascism’s mass propaganda, but it certainly contributes to it. Random tests 
with men and women of different ages and social positions show that very few people 
fail to recognize the meaning of the swastika; most people divine its meaning sooner or 
later if they look at it for a while. Thus we can assume that this symbol depicting two 
interlocked figures acts as a powerful stimulus on deep layers of the organism, a 
stimulus that proves to be that much more powerful, the more dissatisfied, the more 
burning with sexual desire, a person is. If, in addition, the symbol is presented as the 
emblem of honourableness and faithfulness, it can be accepted more readily. In this way 
allowances are made for the defensive strivings of the moralistic ego. Let it not be 
assumed, however, that by exposing its sexual meaning we want to depreciate the .effect 
of this symbol. First, we certainly do not want to depreciate the sexual act; and second, 
we would meet with strong opposition, for the moralistic disguise would operate as a 
resistance to the acceptance of our attempts. Sex-economic mental hygiene has 
something else in mind. 


The Sex-Economic Presuppositions of the Authoritarian Family 

Since authoritarian society reproduces itself in the individual structures of the masses 
with the help of the authoritarian family, it follows that political reaction has to regard 
and defend the authoritarian family as the basis of the ‘state, culture, and civilization’. In 
this propaganda it can count on deep irrational factors in the masses. The reactionary 
politician cannot divulge his real intentions in his propaganda. The German masses 
would not have responded to a slogan calling for the ‘conquest of the world’. In political 
propaganda, which is a question of producing a psychological effect on the masses, one is 
not dealing directly with economic processes but with human structures. This 
consideration dictates a definite approach in the work of mental hygiene, and failure to 
make use of this approach can lead to errors in mass psychology. Consequently, 
revolutionary sexual politics must do more than just point out the objective basis of the 
authoritarian family. If it is to have an effect on the psychology of the masses, it must 
appeal to man’s yearning for happiness in both life and love. 

From the point of view of social development, the family cannot be regarded as the 
basis of the authoritarian state, but only as one of the most important institutions that 
supports it. We, however, have to look upon it as political reaction ’s germ cell, the most 
important centre for the production of reactionary men and women. Originating and 
developing from definite social processes, it becomes the most essential institution for the 
preservation of the authoritarian system that shapes it. In this regard, the findings of 
Morgan and Engels are as valid today as they were then. However, we are not interested 
in the history of the family. What concerns us is an important contemporary sex-political 
question, namely: How can sex-economy most effectively counter reactionary sexual and 
cultural politics in which the authoritarian family plays such a decisive role? A precise 
discussion of the basis and effects of the authoritarian family is vitally necessary, 
especially in view of the lack of clarity on this question that exists even in revolutionary 

The authoritarian family contains a contradiction which must be understood in all of 
its details if we are to have an effective sex-economic mass hygiene. 

More than the economic dependency of the wife and children on the husband and 
father is needed to preserve the institution of the authoritarian family. For the suppressed 
classes, this dependency is endurable only on condition that the consciousness of being a 
sexual being is suspended as completely as possible in women and in children. The wife 
must not figure as a sexual being, but solely as a child-bearer. Essentially, the 
idealization and deification of motherhood, which are so flagrantly at variance with the 
brutality with which the mothers of the toiling masses are actually treated, serve as means 
of preventing women from gaining a sexual consciousness, of preventing the imposed 
sexual repression from breaking through and of preventing sexual anxiety and sexual 
guilt-feelings from losing their hold. Sexually awakened women, affirmed and recognised 
as such, would mean the complete collapse of the authoritarian ideology. Conservative 
sexual reform has always made the mistake of merely making a slogan of ‘the right of 
woman to her own body’, and not clearly and unmistakably regarding and defending 
woman as a sexual being, at least as much as it regards and defends her as a mother. 
Furthermore, conservative sexual reform based its sexual policies predominantly on the 
function of procreation, instead of undermining the reactionary view that equates 
sexuality and procreation. It is for this reason that it was not able to counter mysticism 
with sufficient force. 

The ideology extolling the ‘blessings of large families’ is necessary for the 
preservation of the authoritarian family. It is necessary not only in the interest of warlike 
imperialism; its most essential purpose is to obscure woman ’s sexual function as opposed 
to her function as a child-bearer. The drawing of a clear-cut distinction between ‘mother’ 
and ‘prostitute’ as we find, for example, in the writings of the philosopher Weinin-ger, 
corresponds to the distinction that the reactionary man draws between sexual desire and 
procreation. According to this view, to have sex for the pleasure of it degrades the 
woman and mother; a ‘prostitute’ is a woman who affirms pleasure and lives for it. The 
notion that sexuality is moral only in the service of procreation, that what lies outside the 
pale of procreation is immoral, is the most important feature of reactionary sexual 
politics. This notion is no less reactionary when represented by Communists such as 
Salkind and Stoliarov. 

Aggressive imperialism dictates that women are nothing but child-bearing machines 
and it brooks no rebellion against this function. In short, this means that sexual 
gratification must not interfere with her function of reproduction. Apart from this, 
however, a woman who is conscious of her sexuality would never willingly heed the 
reactionary slogans, which have her enslavement in mind. This antithesis between sexual 
gratification and procreation applies only to authoritarian society, not to work- 
democracy. It is a question of the social conditions under which woman are to bear 
children: under favourable, socially guaranteed conditions, or conditions that do not 
provide adequate protection for the mother and child. In other words, if women are to 
bear children without any kind of social protection, without social guarantees for the 
rearing of their offspring; if, moreoever, they are not allowed to determine for themselves 
how many children they will have and are to accept this function willingly and 
unquestionably - then motherhood, as opposed to woman’s sexual function, has to be 

If we are to comprehend the fact that Hitler’s party, just as the centre parties, relied 
chiefly upon women’s votes, we must comprehend irrationalism. The irrational 
mechanism at work here is the setting up of an antithesis between woman as child-bearer 
and woman as a sexual being. With this in mind we shall be in a better position to 
understand fascist attitudes such as the following: 

The preservation of the already existing large families is a matter of social feeling; the 
preservation of the form of the large family is a matter of biologic conception and national 
character. The large family is to be preserved not because it is hungry; it is to be pre- 
served as a valuable, indispensable part of the German people. Valuable and 
indispensable not only because it alone guarantees the preservation of the population in 
the future [objectively speaking, this is its imperialistic function, WR], but because 
national morality and national culture find their strongest support in it. . . The preservation 
of the existing large families amalgamated with the preservation of the form of the large 
family, for these two problems are inseparable . . . The preservation of the form of the 
large family is a matter of national, cultural and political necessity ... This view is also 
strictly opposed to the repeal of paragraph 218, and it holds pregnancy to be inviolable. 
The termination of pregnancy is at variance with the meaning of the family, whose task 
is precisely the education of the coming generation - apart from the fact that the 
termination of pregnancy would mean the final destruction of the large family. 

This is how the Volkiscber Beobachter put it on 14 October 1931. Thus, political 
reaction's family politics are the key to the question of the termination of pregnancy also, 
far more so than the factors that had previously been pushed into the foreground - 
industrial reserve army and cannon fodder for imperialist wars. The argument in support 
of an industrial reserve army almost completely lost its relevance in the years of the 
economic crisis, when there were many millions of unemployed workers in Germany, and 
some forty million throughout the world in 1932. When political reaction tells us again 
and again that the preservation of the abortion law is necessary in the interest of the family 
and 'moral order', when the social hygienist Grothjan, who was a Social Democrat, argues 
along the same lines as the National Socialists hi this regard, then we must agree with 
them that 'authoritarian family' and 'moralistic ethics' are decisively important reactionary 
forces. We must not brush them aside as unimportant. It is a matter of binding the women 
to the authoritarian family by means of suppressing their sexual needs; it is a matter of the 
reactionary influence exercised by these women on their husbands; it is a matter of 
safeguarding the effect that reactionary sexual propaganda has on millions of women who 
are suppressed and who tolerate their suppression. From a revolutionary point of view it is 
imperative to follow political reaction wherever its effects are felt. It must be routed 
wherever it defends its system. Thus, the interest in the authoritarian family as an 

institution intended to 'preserve the state' takes priority in all questions of reactionary 
sexual politics. It coincides with the similar interests of all members of the middle class 
who operate small businesses, for whom the family constitutes, or at least used to 
constitute, an economic unity. It is from this point of view that fascist ideology sees state 
and society, economics and politics. It is also from this point of view, determined as it is 
by the old mode of economy of the lower middle class, which prompts reactionary 
sexology to promulgate the state as an 'organic whole'. For the wage earner of modern 
civilization there is no longer any direct correlation between family and social mode of 
existence. The family is not economically anchored. Hence, the modern wage earner is in 
a position to look upon the state as a coercive institution of society; the 'biologic' view 
that the state is an 'organic whole’ is not valid for his sexology and sex-economy. If the 
working man proves to be accessible to this reactionary view, it is to be ascribed to the 
authoritarian family education that he received. And the small farmer and the lower 
middle-class man would be more accessible to an insight into their social responsibility if 
their family situation were not organically bound up with their economic situation. 

In the economic world crisis it was shown that this connection between family and 
economy was loosened as a result of the economic ruin of small enterprises. 
Subsequently, the essential features of the oft-mentioned tradition of the lower middle 
class, namely its authoritarian familial tie, still had an effect. Hence it was much more 
accessible to the fascist ideology of the ‘large family’ than it was to the revolutionary 
ideology of birth control, mainly because the revolutionary movement failed to elucidate 
this question and to give it top priority. 

As clear as all this is, we would err if we failed to assess it in relation to other factors 
which are contradictory to it. Our assessment would of necessity be false if we failed to 
take into account the contradictions that exist in the life of the sexually inhibited man. To 
begin with, the contradiction between sexual moralistic thinking and feeling on the one 
hand and the concrete sexual mode of existence on the other hand is decisive. An 
example: in Western Germany there were a large number of birth control groups of a 
predominantly ‘socialist’ nature. In the Wolf-Kienle campaign of 1931 the abortion law 
was put to a vote. It turned out that the same women who cast their vote for the centre 
parties or the NSDAP were for the repeal of this law, while their parties were 
passionately opposed to its repeal. These women voted for sex-economic birth control in 
an effort to secure sexual gratification. At the same time they voted for the centre and 
NSDAP parties, not because they had no knowledge of the reactionary intentions c ; of 

these parties, but because they were still imbued with the reactionary ideology of ‘pure 
motherhood’, of the antithesis between motherhood and sexuality; but most of all they 
were still under the influence of authoritarian ideology itself. While these women knew 
nothing of the sociological role of the authoritarian family in a dictatorship, they were 
nonetheless under the influence of political reaction’s sexual politics: They affirmed birth 
control, but they feared the responsibility imposed upon them by the revolutionary world. 

Sexual reaction made no bones about using any means whatever to exploit sexual 
anxiety for its own purposes. Since there was no corresponding sex-economic 
counterpropaganda from the revolutionary side, the wife of the average worker or lower 
middle-class woman who held Christian or nationalistic views, had to be impressed by 
the following kind of propaganda. 

In 1918 the Vereiniprine’ zur Bekamofune des Bolshewismus (Alliance for the Fight 
against Bolshevism) printed posters having the following text: 

German Women I 

Have you any idea what Bolshevism has in store for you? 

Bolshevism wants the socialization of women: 

1. The right of possession of women between 17 and 32 years of age is being 

2. All women are the property of the people. 

3. The former owners retain a priority on their wives. 

4. Every man who wants to use a specimen of the people’s property must have a 
permit from the workers’ committee. 

5. No man has the right to avail himself of a woman more than three times per week 
and longer than three hours. 

6. Every man is required to report a woman who resists him. 

7. Every man who does not belong to the working class has to pay a monthly fee of 
100 roubles for the right to use this public property. The sordidness of such propaganda is 
as evident as its mendacity, but the first reaction of the average woman is to shrink back 
in horror, while the reaction of a progressive woman will be something as follows: 

I admit that for us, the workers, there is only one way out of the present misery, and 
that way is socialism. But it has to remain within certain moderate limits, and not reject 
everything that was as wrong and unnecessary. Otherwise this will lead to a brutalization 
of customs, which would be even worse than the present sad material situation. And 
unfortunately, it is a very important and a high ideal that is attacked by socialism: 
marriage. Complete freedom, complete licentiousness, is being demanded, to a certain 
extent sexual Bolshevism. Every one is supposed to live one’s life to the full, to have 
one’s fling - freely, without inhibitions. Man and wife are no longer to belong together, 
instead one is together with this woman today and tomorrow with that one, just as one’s 
mood happens to be. This is called freedom, free love, the new sex morality. But these 
beautiful names cannot gloss over the fact that grave dangers are lurking here. Man’s 
highest and noblest feelings would be degraded by such practices: love, faithfulness, 
sacrifice. That a man or woman can love many other men or women at the same time is 
wholly impossible - it is contrary to nature. The result would be a terrible brutalization 
which would destroy culture. I have no idea how these things look in the Soviet Union, 
but either the Russians are peculiar people or they really haven’t allowed this absolute 
freedom and certain sanctions still exist there. . . Thus, as beautiful as the socialist theory 
is, and as much as I am in agreement with you on all economic questions, I don’t follow 
you when it comes to sexual matters, and because of this I often have doubts about the 
whole thing. 

[Letter to the editor from a working woman] 

This letter clearly reflects the conflict with which the average person is faced: he is 
made to believe that he must choose between compulsive sexual morality on the one hand 
and sexual anarchy on the other hand. ‘The average person has no knowledge of the sex- 
economic regulation of sexuality, which is as far from compulsive morality as it is from 
anarchy. He reacts to the imposed severe compulsion with promiscuous impulses; he 
defends himself against both. Morality is a burden, and instinct appears as a tremendous 
danger. The man reared under and bound by authority has no knowledge of the natural 

law of self-regulation; he has no confidence in himself. He is afraid of his sexuality 
because he never learned to live it naturally. Thus, he declines all responsibility for his 
acts and decisions, and he demands direction and guidance. 

The revolutionary movement has not yet had any success with its sexual politics - 
gauged against the success that consistent revolutionary sexual politics could have 
achieved -because it failed to react with appropriate weapons against political reaction’s 
successful attempts to exploit man’s suppressed sexual powers. If sexual reaction had 
publicised only its political thesis on population, it would not have poked a single cat 
from under the bed. But it exploited the sexual anxiety in women and girls, and to this it 
owes its success. It was skilful in linking its population aims with the compulsive 
moralistic inhibitions of the people, at all levels of society as a matter of fact. The 
hundreds of thousands of organized Christian workers are proof of this. 

Here is another example of the propaganda methods used by political reaction: 

In their devastating campaign against the entire bourgeois world, the Bolsheviks were 
from the very beginning particularly fixed on the family, ‘this especially strong remnant 
of the confounded old regime’. As early as 10 June 1924, the plenary assembly of the 
Comintern declared:’ The revolution is powerless as long as the old idea of the family 
and family relationships continues to exist.’ In consequence of this attitude, a violent 
fight against the family broke out immediately. Bigamy and polygamy were not 
prohibited and therefore permissible. The Bolsheviks’ attitude towards marriage is 
characterized by the following definition of the marital tie, proposed by Professor 
Goichbarg: ‘Marriage is an institution for the gratification of sexual needs in a less 
dangerous and more convenient way.’ How far family and marriage disintegrated under 
such conditions is indicated by the statistics of the general census of 1927. Ivestia writes: 
‘In Moscow, the census revealed numerous cases of polygamy and polyandry. 
Frequently, two or even three women designated the same man as their spouse.’ There is 
no need for surprise when the German Professor Selheim describes family relationships 
in Russia in the following way: ‘It is a complete regression to the sexual order of 
prehistoric times, from which marriage and a usable sexual order was developed in the 
course of time.’ 

Compulsive marital and familial life is also attacked; complete freedom of sexual 
intercourse has been proclaimed. The well-known female Communist Smidowitsch 
worked out a scheme of sexual morality, according to which most boys and girls act. The 
scheme runs something as follows: 

1. Every student of the workers’ faculty, even if he is a minor, is entitled and obliged 
to gratify his sexual needs. 

2. When a young girl, whether she is a university student, a worker, or just a 
schoolgirl, is desired by a man, she is obliged to yield to this desire, otherwise she will be 
looked upon as a bourgeois girl who cannot pretend to be a genuine Communist. 

Pravda wrote quite openly: ‘Among us there are only sexual relations between man 
and woman. We do not recognize the existence of love. Love is to be looked down upon 
as something psychological. Among us only physiology has a right to exist.’ In 
consequence of this communist attitude, every woman and every girl is obliged to gratify 
the sexual drive of the male. In view of the fact that this certainly does not always happen 

in an entirely voluntary way, the rape of women in Soviet Russia has become a veritable 

Such lies on the part of political reaction cannot be set aside simply by exposing them 
for what they are, lies; nor, for that matter, by protestations to the effect that one is just as 
‘moral’ as they are, or that the revolution does not destroy the authoritarian family and 
moralism, etc. The truth of the matter is that sexuality changes in the course of the 
revolution, that the old compulsive regimentation is loosened. This cannot be disavowed. 
Nor can the correct sex-economic position be ascertained, if ascetic attitudes on these 
questions are tolerated in one’s own camp and are allowed to be operative. We will have 
to inquire into this matter very carefully later. 

The sexual politics of those who strive to achieve a genuine freedom in this sphere 
failed to explain - not once, twice, but again and again - and to establish a sex-economic 
regulation of sexual life. They failed to comprehend and to allay woman’s fear of sexual 
health. More than anything else, however, they failed to establish clarity in their own 
ranks by constantly and consistently pointing out the disparity between the reactionary 
and the sex-economic conception of sexuality. Experience shows that the average person 
accepts sex-economic regulation of sexuality if it is made sufficiently clear to him. 

The anti -revolutionary movement originates from political reaction’s creeds, which 
are held together by the lower middle class’s economic mode of existence and by 
ideologic mysticism. The core of political reaction’s cultural politics is the sexual 
question. Accordingly, the core of revolutionary cultural politics must also be the sexual 

It is sex-economy that gives the political answer to the chaos that was created by the 
contradiction between compulsive morality and sexual libertinism. 


Organised Mysticism as an International Anti-Sexual Organisation 


To clarify the tasks of sex-economic mental hygiene, we have to pay close attention to 
the way political reaction attacks and defend itself on the cultural political front. We 
decline to dismiss political reaction’s mystical figures of speech as ‘red herrings’. As we 
have already pointed out, when political reaction is successful with a certain ideological 
propaganda, this cannot be ascribed solely to befogging. It is our contention that a 
problem of mass psychology must lie at the root of each instance of its success. 
Something that we still haven’t grasped is going on in the masses, and it is that 
‘something* that enables them to think and to act against their own vital interests. The 
question is decisive, for without this attitude on the part of the masses; political reaction 
would be wholly powerless. It is the willingness of the masses to absorb these ideas - 
what we call a dictator’s ‘soil of mass psychology’ - that constitutes fascism’s strength. 
Thus, it is imperative to seek a complete understanding of this. 

As the economic pressure on the toiling masses increases, compulsive moralistic 
pressure is also wont to become more rigid. This can only have the function of precluding 
a rebellion on the part of the working masses against the social pressure by intensifying 

their sexual guilt-feelings and their moral dependency on the existing order. How does 
this come about? 

Since mystical contagion is the most important psychological precondition for the 
assimilation of fascist ideology by the masses, an understanding of the psychological 
effect of mysticism in general is an indispensable part of an investigation of fascist 

When the Papen government came into power in the spring of 1932, following the 
ousting of Bruning, one of its first acts was to proclaim its intention to carry out a ‘more 
strict moral education of the nation’. The Hitler government stepped up this programme. 

An edict relating to the education of the youth stated: 

Youth will be able to cope with its difficult lot and with the high demands of the future 
only when it has learned to be ruled by the principles of the people and of the state . . . 
that, however, means to learn to be responsible to and to be capable of making sacrifices 
for the whole. Softness and exaggerated consideration of every individual inclination are 
misplaced in dealing with a youth which must be prepared to face many hardships in life. 
Youth will be fully prepared for its service to the people and to the state only when it has 
learned to work objectively, to think clearly, to fulfil its obligation; when it has become 
accustomed to conforming to the regulations of the educational community in a 
disciplined and obedient way and of voluntarily submitting to its authority . . . The 
teaching of the youth to have a genuine feeling for the state must be supplemented and 
deepened by a German education based on the historical and cultural values of the 
German people . . . by submersion in our epic national heritage .. . The teaching of the 
youth to appreciate the value of the state and of the community derives its strongest inner 
power from the truths of Christianity. 

Loyalty and responsibility towards the people and the fatherland are most deeply 
anchored in Christian faith. For this reason it will always be my special duty to safeguard 
the right and free development of the Christian school and the Christian fundamentals of 
all education. 

What is the source of this glorification of the strength of mystical belief? That is what 
we want to know now. Political Reaction is absolutely correct in asserting that the 
teaching of ‘loyalty to the state’ derives its strongest inner power from the ‘truths of 
Christianity’. Before we give proof of this, however, we must briefly summarize the 
differences existing within the political reactionary camp regarding the conception of 

The basis of National Socialism’s mass psychology differs from that of Wilhelmian 
imperialism in that the former had a pauperized middle class, whereas the German empire 
had a prosperous middle class as its mass basis. Thus, the Christianity of Wilhelmian 
imperialism had to be different from the Christianity of National Socialism. For all that, 
the ideological modifications did not undermine the fundamentals of the mystical world 
view in the least; rather they intensified its function. 

To begin with, National Socialism rejected the Old Testament as being ‘Jewish’ - that, 
at least, was the position of its well-known exponent, Rosenberg, who belonged to the 
right wing. In the same way the internationalism of the Roman Catholic Church was 
regarded as ‘Jewish’. The international church was to be replaced by the ‘German 

national church’. Following the seizure of power, the church was indeed brought into 
line. This limited its political scope, but very much extended its ideological sphere of 

Surely, some day the German people also will find a form for its perception and 
experience of God, a form dictated by its Nordic blood. Surely, only then will the trinity 
of blood, faith and state be complete. 

[Gottfried Feder, Das Programm der NSDAP undseine welt-anschaulichen rundlagen, 
P- 49] 

An identification of the Jewish God with the Holy Trinity had to be avoided at all cost. 
The fact that Jesus himself was a Jew caused some embarrassment, but Stapel quickly 
found a way out of this dilemma: Since Jesus was a son of God; he could not be 
considered a Jew. Jewish dogmas and traditions were to be replaced by the ‘experience of 
one’s own conscience’; indulgence was to be replaced by the ‘idea of personal honour”. 

The belief in the transmutation of the soul after death is rejected as the ‘hocus-pocus 
of the South Sea Islanders’. The Virgin Mary’s Immaculate Conception is rejected on the 
same basis. On this subject, Scharnagel writes: 

He [Rosenberg] confuses the dogma of the immaculate conception of the Blessed 
Virgin, i.e., her freedom from original sin, with the dogma of the virginal birth of Jesus 
(‘who was conceived by the Holy Spirit’) ... 

The extensive success of religious mysticism is to be ascribed to the fact that it is 
centrally rooted in the doctrine of original sin as a sexual act for the sake of pleasure. 
National Socialism retains this motif and makes full use of It with the help of another 
ideology, one in keeping with its own purpose: 

The crucifix is the allegory of the doctrine of the sacrificial lamb, an image which 
impresses upon us the breakdown of all forces, and through its . . . horrific representation 
of pain, distresses and makes us humble, as the power-thirsty churches intend. ... A 
German church would replace little by little the symbol of the crucifixion in the churches 
assigned to it by the instructive spirit of fire, personifying the hero in the highest sense. 

[Mytbus, p. 577] 

In short, it is a matter of substituting one fetter for another: The sadistic-narcissistic 
mysticism of nationalism is to take the place of masochistic, international, religious 
mysticism. From now on it is a question of 

... Recognizing German national honour as the supreme standard of behaviour in order 
to live for it... It [the state] will allow every religious conviction free scope; it will allow 
moral teachings of various forms to have their say, on condition that they do not get in 
the way of the assertion of national honour. 

We have already seen how the ideology of national honour derives from authoritarian 
ideology and the latter from the sex-negation regulation of sexuality. Neither Christianity 
nor National Socialism attacks the institution of compulsive mar-age: for the former, 
apart from its function of procreation, marriage is a ‘complete, life-long union’; for the 
National Socialists it is a biologically rooted institution for the preservation of racial 
purity. Outside of compulsive marriage, there is no sexuality for either of them. 

Furthermore, National Socialism does not want to maintain religion on a historical 
basis, but on a ‘topical’ basis. This change is to be explained in terms of the 
disintegration of Christian sexual morality, which can no longer be upheld solely on the 
basis of historical demands. 

The ethnical racial state must one day still discover its deepest roots in religion. Not 
until our belief in God ceases to be related to a specific event in the past, but is again and 
again, through everlasting experience, intricately interwoven with the native activity and 
life of a people and of a state, as well as of the individual, will our world be firmly re- 

[Ludwig Haase, Nationalsoyjalistische Monatsbefte I, no. 5, p. 213] 

Let us not forget that ‘native activity and life’ mean ‘moral’ life, i.e., sexual negation. 

It is precisely in that which prompted the National Socialists to differentiate 
themselves from the Church and in that which represents their common points of 
reference that what is unessential for the reactionary function of religion can be 
distinguished from what is actually effective. 

The historical factors, the dogmas, some violently defended articles of faith become, 
as is shown, meaningless, if one can succeed in replacing them in their function by some- 
thing else that is equally effective. National Socialism wants ‘religious experience’. In 
fact, that is its sole concern; it merely wants to give it a different basis. What is this ‘ever- 
lasting experience’? 


Nationalistic and familial sentiments are intimately interlaced with religious feelings, 
which are vague and mystical to a lesser or greater extent. There is no end to the literature 
on this subject. A detailed academic critique of this field is out of the question - for the 
time being at least. We want to pick up the thread of our main problem. If fascism relies 
so successfully on the mystical thinking and sentiments of the masses, then a fight against 
it can be effective only if mysticism is comprehended and if the mystical contagion of the 
masses is tackled through education and hygiene. It is not enough that the scientific view 
of the world gains ground, for it moves much too slowly to keep pace with the rapid 
spread of mystical contagion. The reason for this can lie only in our incomplete 
comprehension of mysticism itself. Scientific enlightenment of the masses was mainly 
concerned with the exposing of the corrupt practices of church dignitaries and church 
officials. The overwhelming majority of the masses was left in the dark. Scientific 
elucidation appealed only to the intellect of the masses - not to their feelings. If, however, 
a man has mystical feelings, he is impervious to the unmasking of a church dignitary, no 
matter how artfully done. He is no more impressed by the detailed exposure of how the 
state uses the workers’ pennies to support the church than he is by Marx’s and En-gels’ 
historical analysis of religion. 

To be sure, atheist movements also tried to employ emotional means in their efforts to 
enlighten the masses. For example, the youth initiation festivals of the German free 
thinkers were dedicated to this land of work. Despite all this the Christian youth 
organizations had approximately thirty times as many members as the Communist and 
Social Democrat parties taken together. In the years 1930-32, Christian youth 

organizations had approximately one and a half million members as opposed to the fifty 
thousand members of the Communist party and the sixty thousand members of the 
Socialist party. According to its own statistics. National Socialism had some forty 
thousand youth in its organization in 1931. We extract detailed figures from the 
Proktariscbe Freidenherstimme of April 1932. According to this newspaper the 
distribution ran as follows: 

Thus, four fifths of the members were at the age of puberty or post-puberty! 

While the Communists, in their efforts to win over these young people, gave 
prominence to the question of class, as opposed to the question of creed, the Catholic 
organization took up its position precisely on the cultural and philosophic front. The 
Communist wrote: 

If our work is clear and consistent, the question of class membership will prove to be 
stronger than the impeding questions of creed, among the young Catholics also . . . We 
must not give prominence to the question of creed, but to the question of class 
membership, to the misery which binds us and is our common lot. 

The leadership of the Catholic youth, on the other hand, wrote in Jungarbeiter no. 17, 

The greatest and most likely the gravest danger of the Communist Party is the fact that 
it gets its hands on the young workers and the children of workers at a very early age. We 
are very pleased that the government... is strongly opposed to the subversive Communist 
Party. Above all, however, we expect the German government to deal sharply with the 
fight of the communists against church and religion. 

Representatives of eight Catholic organizations held positions on the Berlin examining 
board for the ‘Protection of Youth against Filth and Obscenity’. In 1932 a proclamation 
of the Centre Youth stated: 

We demand that the state use every available means to protect our Christian heritage 
against the poisonous influence of a filthy press, obscene literature, and erotic films - all 
of which degrade and falsify national sentiments . . . 

Thus, the church defended its mystical function, not where it was attacked by the 
communist movement, but at an entirely different place. 

‘It is the task of the non-orthodox proletarian youth,’ the aforementioned 
Freidenherstimme states, to show ‘the young working Christians the role of the church 
and of their organizations in the implementation of fascist measures and their advocation 
of crisis bills and economic measures’. Why, as it turned out, did the masses of the young 
Christian workers offer resistance to this attack on the church? The Communists expected 
the Christian youth to see for themselves that the church was serving a capitalist function. 
Why did they fail to see this? Evidently, it was because this function had been concealed 
from them and because their authoritarian upbringing had made them credulous and 
incapable of criticism. Nor could it escape one’s notice that the representatives of the 
church in the youth organizations spoke out against capitalism, so that the antithesis 
between the social positions assumed by the Communists and the priests was not readily 
perceptible to the youth. At first it appeared as if a clear-cut demarcation existed only in 
the sphere of sexuality. It seemed as if the Communists, as opposed to the church, had 
taken a positive attitude towards adolescent sexuality. However, it soon turned out that 

the Communist organizations not only allowed this decisive area to lie fallow, but even 
felt themselves to be in accord with the church in their condemnation and inhibition of 
adolescent sexuality. The measures adopted by the Communists against the German 
Sexpol, which never hesitated to raise the question of adolescent sexuality and to attempt 
to solve it, were no less severe than those of some clerical representatives. The fact that 
the Communist pastor Salkind, who was also a psychoanalyst, was an authority in the 
field of sexual negation in Soviet Russia, speaks for itself. It was not enough to point out 
that the authoritarian state was in control of and could exploit the parental home, the 
church and the school as a means of binding the youth to its system and its world of 
ideas. The state used its entire power apparatus to keep these institutions intact. Hence, 
nothing short of a social revolution would have been capable of abolishing them. And 
yet, an undermining of their reactionary influence was one of the most essential 
preconditions of the social revolution and therefore the presupposition of their abolition. 
Many Communists considered this the main task of the ‘Red cultural front’. To 
accomplish this task, it was of decisive importance to comprehend the ways and means 
with the help of which the authoritarian parental home, the school and the church could 
exercise so much influence, and to discover the process that took hold of the youth as a 
result of these influences. Generalizations such as ‘enslavement’ or ‘brutalization’ did not 
offer an adequate explanation. ‘Brutalization’ and ‘enslavement’ were the results. What 
we wanted to know were the processes that enable dictatorial interests to gain a foothold 
in the structure of the masses. 

Der sexuelle Kampfder jugend was an attempt to show the role played by the 
suppression of adolescent sexuality in this process. In the present work we want to 
investigate the basic elements of political reaction’s cultural aims, and to ascertain the 
emotional factors on which revolutionary work has to be based. Here, too, we have to 
adhere to the principle of paying strict attention to everything to which cultural reaction 
gives prominence; for that to which it gives prominence is not incidental, nor is it a 
means of ‘distracting’ one’s attention. It is the central arena in which the fight between 
revolutionary and reactionary world philosophy and politics is to take place. 

We are forced to avert an encounter in the philosophic and cultural sphere, die centre 
of which is the sexual question, as long as we do not possess the necessary knowledge 
and the required training to engage in such a clash successfully. However, if we can 
succeed in gaining a firm foothold in the cultural question, we have everything necessary 
to pave the way for work-democracy. For let it be stated once again: Sexual inhibition 
prevents the average adolescent from thinking and feeling in a rational way. We must see 
to it that mysticism is countered with appropriate means. To this end knowledge of its 
mechanism is urgently necessary. 

Let us quote from one of the many typical works on this subject: Der Bolichewismus 
als Todfeindund Wegbereiter der Revolution, 1931, written by the pastor Braumann. We 
could emote from any other work just as well. The essential points of their arguments are 
the same, and minor differences in detail are of no importance here. 

Every religion is liberation from the world and its powers through unification with 
Godhood. Therefore, Bolshevism will never be able to enchain man completely as long 
as there is still something of religion in him. 

[Braumann, p. 12] 

Here, to be sure, mysticism’s function is clearly articulated: to divert attention from 
daily misery, ‘to liberate from the world’, the purpose of which is to prevent a revolt 
against the real causes of one’s misery. But scientific findings on the sociological 
function of mysticism will not take us very far. First and foremost, it is the rich 
experience gained from discussions between scientifically and mystically oriented youth 
that has a practical value for our work against mysticism. Such discussions give us a clue 
to an understanding of mysticism, and hence to the mystical feelings of the individuals in 
the masses. 

A workers’ youth organization invited a Protestant pastor to a discussion on the 
economic crisis. He came, followed and sheltered by some twenty Christian youths 
between eighteen and twenty-five years of age. In his talk he made the following points, 
although it was his shifting from partially correct statements to mystical points of view 
that was most striking: The causes of the existing misery, he explained, were the war and 
the Young plan. The world war was an expression of man’s depravity and of his 
meanness, an injustice and a sin. Capitalistic exploitation was also a grave sin. (By 
assuming an anti-capitalist attitude and thus anticipating the anti-capitalist feelings of the 
Christian youth, he made it difficult to undo his influence.) Capitalism and socialism, he 
went on to say, were essentially the same. The socialism of the Soviet Union was also a 
form of capitalism. Socialism entailed disadvantages for some classes just as capitalism 
entailed disadvantages for other classes. Every form of capitalism should ‘be given a 
good kick in the pants’. Bolshevism’s fight against religion was a criminal act; religion 
was not responsible for misery. It was capitalism’s abuse of religion that was at fault. 
(This was a decidedly progressive pastor.) What were the conclusions to be drawn from 
this presentation? Since man was vile and wicked, the wretchedness of his situation was 
not at all to be done away with; it had to be endured, coped with. The capitalist was not 
happy either. Man’s inner anguish, which lay at the root of all anguish, would not 
disappear even after the fulfilment of the third five-year plan of the Soviet Union. 

A number of revolutionary youths tried to represent their point of view. They pointed 
out that it was not a question of individual capitalists, but a question of ‘the system’ . It 
was a question of whether the majority or a dwindling minority was suppressed. To say 
that wretchedness had to be endured did not help matters at all and only benefited 
political reaction. And so on and so forth. In the end it was agreed that a reconciliation of 
the opposing views was not possible, that no one went away with a conviction different 
from the one with which he had come. The young attendants of the pastor hung on the 
words of their leader. Their material situation appeared to be just as indigent as that of the 
Communists, and yet each one of them acquiesced in the opinion that there was no escape 
from misery and that one had to make the best of it and ‘have faith in God’. 

Following the discussion, I asked a number of communist youths why they had not 
entered into the main issue, namely the church’s insistence on sexual abstinence. They 
replied that this subject would have been too ticklish and too difficult, that it would have 
had the effect of a bomb, and finally, that it was not customary to speak about such 
matters at political discussions. 

Some time prior to this a mass rally had been held in one of Berlin’s western districts, 
at which representatives of the church and representatives of the Communist party 
explained their respective viewpoints. A good half of the 1,800 people attending the rally 

were Christians and lower middle-class people. As the principal speaker, I summarized 
the sex-economic position in several questions: 

1. The church contends that the use of contraceptives is contrary to nature, as is any 
interference with natural procreation. If nature is so strict and so wise, why did it produce 
a sexual apparatus that does not impel one to engage in coitus only as often as one wants 
to procreate children, but on the average of two to three thousand times in a lifetime ? 

2. Would the representatives of the church who were present state openly if they 
engaged in sexual intercourse only when they wanted to procreate children? (They were 
Protestant pastors.) 

3. Why had God produced two kinds of glands in one’s sexual apparatus: one for 
sexual excitation and one for procreation? 

4. How did they explain the fact that even small children developed sexuality, long 
before the procreation function begins? 

The clerical representatives’ embarrassed answers evoked peals -of laughter. When I 
began to explain the role played within the framework of authoritarian society by the 
church’s and reactionary science’s denial of the pleasure function, that the suppression of 
sexual gratification was intended to produce humility and general resignation in 
economic areas also, I had the entire audience on my side. The mystics had been beaten. 

Extensive experience at mass rallies shows that the political reactionary role of 
mysticism in connection with the suppression of sexuality is readily comprehended when 
the right to sexual gratification is medically and socially explained in a clear and direct 
fashion. This fact requires thorough elucidation. 


‘Bolshevism’, so we hear it stated by ‘anti-Bolshevik’ propaganda, is supposed to be 
the ‘arch enemy of every religion’, especially of ‘spiritually valuable’ religion. In 
consequence of its ‘materialism’, Bolshevism recognizes only material goods and is only 
interested in producing material goods. It has not the least understanding for spiritual 
values and psychic riches. 

What are these spiritual values and psychic riches anyhow? Faithfulness and faith are 
often named; as for the rest, the phraseology is lost in a vague concept of ‘individuality’ . 

Because Bolshevism wants to stifle everything individual, it destroys the family which 
has always given man an individual character. For that reason it hates all national 
strivings. All peoples are to become as homogeneous as possible and be submissive to 
Bolshevism . . . But all efforts to stifle one’s personal life will be futile as long as there is 
still a trace of religion in man, because in religion personal freedom from the outside 
world breaks through again and again. 

When the mystic speaks of ‘Bolshevism’, he does not mean the political party founded 
by Lenin. He has no notion of the sociological controversies that took place at the turn of 
the century. ‘Communist’, ‘Bolshevist’, ‘Red’, etc., became reactionary slogans, which 
have nothing to do with politics, parties, economics, etc. These words are just as 
irrational as the word ‘Jew’ in the mouth of the fascists. They are expressive of the anti- 
sexual attitude that relates to the mystical-reactionary structure of authoritarian man. 

Thus, Roosevelt was labelled a ‘Jew’ and a ‘Red’ by the fascists. The irrational content of 
these slogans always refers to what is sexually alive, even when the person who is so 
labelled is far removed from any kind of affirmation of childhood and adolescent 
sexuality. The Russian Communists were even less affirmative to sexuality than many 
middle-class Americans. One will have to learn to comprehend the irrationalism of 
slogans if one wants to counter mysticism, the primary cause of all political reaction. 
Wherever we read ‘Bolshevism’ in what follows, ‘orgasm anxiety’ is also to be thought 

The reactionary man who is also a fascist assumes an intimate relation between 
family, nation and religion. This fact had been wholly neglected by sociological research. 
To begin with, the sex-economic diagnosis is confirmed: what religion calls freedom 
from the outside world really means fantasized substitute gratification for actual 
gratification. This fits in perfectly with the Marxist theory that religion is the opium of 
the people. This is more than just a metaphor. Vegetotherapy was able to prove that 
mystical experience actually sets the same process going in the autonomic living 
apparatus as a narcotic does. These processes are excitations in the sexual apparatus that 
cause narcotic like conditions and that crave for orgastic gratification. 

First of all, however, we have to obtain more exact information on the relationship 
between mystical and familial sentiments. Braumann writes in a way that is typical for 
reactionary ideology: 

But Bolshevism has still another way of annihilating religion, namely through the 
systematic destruction of marital and familial life. It knows only too well that the great 
forces of religion stem from the family. It is for this reason that marriage and divorce are 
facilitated to such a degree that Russian marriages border on free love. 

With reference to the ‘culture-destroying’ effect of the Soviet Russian five-day week, 
we read: 

This serves to destroy familial life as well as religion . . . What is most disturbing is 
the havoc which Bolshevism spreads in the sexual sphere. By its destruction of marital 
and familial life, it fosters every kind of immoral dissipation to the extent of allowing 
unnatural intercourse between brothers and sisters, parents and children. [This is a 
reference to the abolition of punishment for acts of incest in the Soviet Union.] 
Bolshevism recognizes no moral inhibitions whatever. 

Instead of countering such reactionary attacks with an exact presentation of natural 
sexual processes, Soviet literature often made the attempt to defend itself. It is not at all 
true, it contended, that sexual life in the Soviet Union is ‘immoral’; marriages are 
becoming consolidated again. Such attempts at defence were not only ineffective 
politically; they did not correspond to the facts. From a Christian point of view, sexuality 
in the Soviet Union was indeed immoral. It was out of the question to speak of a 
consolidation of marriages, for the institution of marriage in the authoritarian and 
mystical connotation of the word had been abolished. Until about 1928 the most popular 
form of marriage in the Soviet Union was something equivalent to what we call common- 
law marriage in the United States; it was both legal and practical. Thus Russian 
communism had loosened compulsive marital and familial ties and had done away with 
moralism. It was merely a matter of making masses of people conscious of their 
contradiction, namely that while they secretly and urgently yearned for precisely that 

which the social revolution had accomplished, they also consented to moralism. To 
accomplish this task, however, clarity on the relationship between compulsive family, 
mysticism, and sexuality is necessary. 

We showed earlier that nationalistic sentiments are a direct continuation of the 
sentiments of the authoritarian family. But mystical feelings are also a source of 
nationalistic ideology. Hence, patriarchal family attitudes and a mystical frame of mind 
are the basic psychological elements of fascism and imperialistic nationalism in the 
masses. In short, it is psychologically confirmed on a mass basis that a mystical up- 
bringing becomes the foundation of fascism when a social catastrophe sets the masses in 

In the New York Times of 14 August 1942, Otto D. Tolischus wrote as follows on the 
imperialistic ideology of the Japanese. (One could almost have the feeling that he had 
studied our Mass Psychology of Fascism.) 

A startling revelation of the Japanese war mind, as well as the ambitions prevalent not 
only in the military and ultra-nationalist cliques now dominating the Japanese 
Government but also among the intelligentsia, is contained in a booklet issued in Tokyo 
in February of this year by Professor Chikao Fujisawa, one of the leading exponents of 
Japan’s political thought and philosophy. 

According to this booklet, which was made up for widest distribution, Japan, as the 
original motherland of the human race and world civilization, is fighting a holy war to 
reunite warring mankind into one universal family household in which each nation will 
take its proper place under the divine sovereignty of the Japanese Emperor, who is a 
direct descendant of the Sun Goddess in the ‘absolute cosmic life-centre’, from which the 
nations have strayed and to which they must return. 

In its general argument the booklet merely summarizes, systematizes and applies to 
the present war the ideas derived from Shinto mythology that Japanese politicians under 
the leadership of Yosuke Matsubka developed into an imperialistic dogma to justify 
Japan’s expansion policy. But for that very reason it appeals to all the religious, racial 
and national ideas and emotions most deeply ingrained in the Japanese nature. In that 
sense Professor Fujisawa is a sort of Japanese Nietzsche and Wagner and his pamphlet 
becomes the Japanese equivalent of Adolf Hitler’s Meia Kampf 

As was the case with Mein Kamp, the outside world has paid little attention to this 
trend in Japanese thought, which is either regarded as pure phantasy or relegated to the 
field of theology. But for years it has furnished the ideological background for Japan’s 
expansion policy, which led to the present war, and the last Japanese notes to the United 
States cannot be understood without reference to it. 

The authoritative nature of the booklet is indicated by the fact Professor Fujisawa has 
been a permanent representative on the secretariat of the League of Nations and professor 
of political science in Kyushu Imperial University and has published numerous works in 
various languages on Japanese political science. He is now director of the research 
department of the Imperial Rule Association, created to organize the Japanese people for 
war, and is charged with making such ideas effective throughout the world. 

The flavour of the booklet is amply illustrated by the first few paragraphs, which read: 

‘Japan is often called in our poetic language “Sumera Mikuni”, which conveys 
somewhat the meaning of divine clime, all-integrating and all-embracing. By keeping in 
mind its philosophic implications one will be able to grasp the keynote of the imperial 
rescript issued 27 Sept. 1939, at the time of the conclusion of the Tripartite pact. Therein 
our gracious Tenno proclaimed solemnly that the cause of great justice should be 
extended to the far ends of the earth so as to turn the world into one household and thus 
enable all nations to secure their due places. This significant passage in the rescript will 
clarify the very character of our august sovereign, ever anxious to act as head of an all- 
embracing universal family, in the bosom of which to all nations shall be allotted their 
respective posts in a dynamic order of harmony and cooperation. 

‘It is incumbent upon our Tenno to do his best to restore the “absolute cosmic life- 
centre” and reconstruct the fundamental vertical order once prevalent among nations in 
remote antiquity; by so doing he wishes to transform the present-day lawless and chaotic 
world, where the weak are left to fall prey to the strong, into one large family community 
in which perfect concord and consummate harmony shall prevail. 

‘This is the objective of the divine mission that Japan has been called on to fulfil from 
time immemorial. In a word, it is to permeate the whole world and earth with the cosmic 
vitality embodied in our divine sovereign, so that all segregated national units may be led 
to reunite themselves spiritually with the sincere feeling of brothers sharing the same 

‘Only in this way will all nations of the world be induced to abandon their 
individualistic attitude, which finds expression first of all in current international law.’ 

This, says Professor Fujisawa, is ‘the way of the gods’, and, after explaining this in 
mystical terms, he continues: 

‘In this light one can well understand that capitalistic individualism prevalent in the 
United States runs counter to the cosmic truth, for it ignores the all-embracing life-centre 
and deals exclusively with rampancy and unbridled ego. Dictatorial communism, 
elevated to an official doctrine by Soviet Russia, proves likewise irreconcilable with the 
cosmic truth, since it tends to disregard personal initiative and merely exercises drastic 
bureaucratic control of the State. 

‘It is noteworthy that the guiding principle of National Socialist Germany and Fascist 
Italy has much in common with Musubi principle, one of many distinguishing these Axis 
powers from the democracies and the Soviet Union. It is because of this spiritual 
solidarity that Japan, Germany and Italy have been prompted to present a common front 
against. . . those powers defending the old order.’ 

Sumera Mikuni, Professor Fujisawa explains, is at war with the administrations of 
President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill, which have been eager for realization 
of their ‘inordinate ambition’ to dominate the Orient. But thanks to the earnest prayers 
offered by Sumera Mikoto (the Japanese Emperor) day and night to the spirit of the Sun 
Goddess, divine power has at last mobilized to deal a thoroughgoing blow to those 
revolting against the inviolable cosmic law. 

In fact, Professor Fujisawa writes, ‘the present Greater East Asia is virtually a second 
descent of the grandchild [of the Sun Goddess, the mythological ancestor of the Japanese 
dynasty], who perpetuates himself in the everlasting life of Sumera Mikoto.’ 

Wherefore, Professor Fujisawa concludes: 

‘The holy war launched by Sumera Mikuni will sooner or later awaken all nations to 
the cosmic truth that their respective national lives issued forth from one absolute life- 
centre embodied by Sumera Mikoto and that peace and harmony cannot be realized 
otherwise than by reorganizing them into one all-embracing family system under the 
guidance of Sumera Mikoto.’ 

Piously Professor Fujisawa adds: 

‘This noble idea should not be considered in any sense in the light of imperialism, 
under which weak nations are mercilessly subjugated.’ 

Startling as these ideas may appear; even more startling is Professor Fujisawa’s 
‘scientific’ basis for them. Although all Japanese chronicles and histories admit that at the 
foundation of the Japanese Empire, which the Japanese Government has put at 2600 B.C. 
but which historians date around the beginning of the Christian era, the inhabitants of the 
Japanese isles were still primitive savages, some of whom were ‘men with tails’ living in 
trees, Professor Fujisawa blandly advances the claim that Japan is the motherland of the 
entire human race and its civilization. 

Recent discoveries and rare archives in Japan, supplemented by the writings of some 
Western authorities, Professor Fujisawa explains, prove ‘the wonderful fact that in the 
prehistoric age mankind formed a single worldwide family system with Sumera Mikoto 
as its head, and Japan was highly respected as the land of parents while all other lands 
were called lands of children or branch lands.’ 

As proof of this the professor .cites a world map prepared by ‘a certain Hilliford in 
1280’ on which/East is located on top and the space occupied by the Japanese is named 
“Kingdom of Heaven”.’ 

Professor Fujisawa continues: 

‘Eminent scholars preoccupied with thoroughgoing researches regarding the 
prehistoric chronicles of Japan are unanimous in concluding that the cradle of mankind 
was neither the Pamir Plateau nor the banks of the Tigris and the Euphrates, but the 
middle mountainous region of the Japanese mainland. This new theory concerning the 
origins of humanity is attracting the keen attention of those who confidently look to 
Japan’s divine mission for the salvation of disoriented mankind.’ 

According to this professorial thesis, the Sumerians, who are believed to have founded 
Babylonian civilization, from which all other civilizations, including those of Egypt, 
Greece and Rome, blossomed, are identical with the early Japanese settlers at Erdu, and 
this, says Professor Fujisawa, explains the correspondence between the prehistoric 
accounts of Japan and the Old Testament. The same, he says, is true of the Chinese, who, 
he insists, were civilized by Japan, instead of the other way around. Yet Japanese 
histories record that the Japanese did not learn to read or write till the Koreans and 
Chinese taught them, around 400 A.D. 

Unfortunately, says the professor, ‘the world order, with Japan functioning as its 
absolute unifying centre, collapsed in consequence of repeated earthquakes, volcanic 
eruptions, floods, tidal waves and glaciers, and due to these tremendous cataclysms all 
mankind became estranged geographically and spiritually from the parent land of Japan.’ 

But, it seems, Sumera Mikuni ‘was immune miraculously from all these natural 
catastrophes, and its divine sovereigns, Sumera Mikoto, enjoying lineage unbroken for 
ages eternal, have appointed to themselves the sacred mission of remolding this floating 
dismembered mankind into a large family community such as existed in prehistoric 

‘Obviously,’ Professor Fujisawa adds, ‘none is better qualified than Sumera Mikoto to 
accomplish this divine work of saving humanity.’ 

Tolischus does not comprehend the phenomena that he describes. He believes that it is 
a conscious mystical veiling of rational imperialism. However, his report clearly demon- 
strates that sex-economy is correct in its judgement that all forms of fascistic, 
imperialistic and dictatorial mysticism can be traced back to the mystical distortion of the 
vegetative sensations of life, a distortion that results from a patriarchal and authoritarian 
organization of the family and the state. 

While national feeling is derived from the maternal tie (home feeling) mystical 
sentiments originate in the anti-sexual atmosphere that is inseparably bound to this 
familial tie. The authoritarian familial tie presupposes the inhibition of sensuous 
sexuality. Without exception, all children brought up in a patriarchal society are subject 
to this sensuous inhibition. No sexual activity, no matter how showy and ‘free’ it appears 
to be, can delude the expert as to this deeply rooted inhibition. In fact, it is precisely this 
inhibition of the capacity for orgastic experience that lies at the bases of many 
pathological manifestations that occur in later sexual life, such as indiscriminate choice 
of partners, sexual restlessness, proclivity to pathological extravagances, etc. The 
inevitable result of this inhibition (‘orgastic impotence’) characteristic of every 
authoritarian upbringing and experienced as unconscious guilt-feelings and sexual 
anxiety, is an insatiable unconscious intense orgastic longing, which is accompanied by 
physical sensations of tension in the region of the solar plexus. The proverbial localiza- 
tion of sensual yearning in the breast and abdomen has its physiological meaning.-^ 

To begin with, the continuous tension in the psychophysical organism constitutes the 
basis of daydreaming in small children and young adolescents. This daydreaming is very 
easily converted into and developed as sentiments of a mystical, sentimental and religious 
nature. The atmosphere of the mystical authoritarian man is infused with all these senti- 
ments. Thus, the average child acquires a structure that is practicably compelled to absorb 
the mystical influences of nationalism, mysticism and superstitions of all kinds. The 
gruesome fairy tales of early childhood, the detective stories that follow later, the 
mysterious’ atmosphere of the church, only prepare the ground for the later susceptibility 
of the biopsychic apparatus to military and fatherland consecrations. Whether the 
mystical man appears rough or even brutal on the surface is not of importance in 
assessing the effect of mysticism. The processes that take place far beneath the surface 
are of importance. The sentimentality and religious mysticism of a Matuschka, Haarmann 
or Kurten are intimately related to their sadistic cruelty. These contrary sentiments owe 
their origin to one and the same source: The insatiable vegetative yearning produced by 
sexual inhibition and barred from natural gratification. On the one hand, therefore, this 
intense yearning is very accessible to muscular sadistic discharges, and on the other hand 
(owing to the existing guilt-feelings) finds expression in mystical religious experiences. 
The fact that the child-murderer Kurten was sexually disturbed was made clear by the 

testimony of his wife; that this was the case had not occurred to our psychiatric clinical 
‘experts’. The cohesion of sadistic brutality and mystical sentiments is usually to be met 
with wherever the normal capacity to experience orgasm is disturbed. And this is true of a 
mass murderer of our time as it was of the inquisitors of the middle Ages or the brutality 
and mysticism of Philip II of Spain. If hysteria does not stifle unresolved excitation in 
nervous impotence, or a compulsive neurosis does not stifle the same excitation in futile 
and grotesque compulsive symptoms, the patriarchal-authoritarian compulsive order 
offers sufficient opportunity for sadistic-mystical discharges. The social rationalization of 
such behaviour effaces its pathological character. It would be worthwhile to make a 
thorough study of the various mystical sects in America, the Buddhist ideology in India, 
the various theosophical and anthroposophical trends, etc., as socially important 
manifestations of patriarchal sexual economy. Let it suffice to say here that mystical 
groups merely represent a concentration of facts that we find in a more diffuse, less 
tangible, but, for all that, no less clear form, in all layers of the population. There is a 
direct correlation between mystical, sentimental and sadistic sentiments on the one hand 
and the average disturbance of the natural orgastic experience on the other hand. There is 
more to be learned about this problem by observing the behaviour of the audience at a 
third-rate musical than by reading a hundred textbooks on sexology. As different and as 
diverse as the contents and directions of this mystical experience are, their sex-economic 
basis is universal and typical. Compare this with the realistic, unsentimental, vital 
experience of the genuine revolutionary, the dedicated natural scientist, healthy adoles- 
cents, etc. 

At this point the obvious objection makes itself heard, namely, that the primitive who 
led a natural life in a matriarchal order also had mystical feelings. A very thorough proof 
is needed to show that there is a fundamental difference between the matriarchal man and 
the patriarchal man. Above all, this can be proven by the fact that religion’s attitude 
towards sexuality underwent a change in patriarchal society. Originally, it was a religion 
of sexuality; later it became an anti-sexual religion. The ‘mysticism’ of the primitives 
who were members of a sexually affirmative society is partially direct orgastic experience 
and partially animistic interpretation of natural processes. 


The social revolution concentrates all of its forces on the elimination of the social 
basis of human suffering. The priority given to the necessity of revolutionizing the social 
order obscures the sex-economic goals and intentions. The revolutionary is compelled to 
put off the solution of very urgent questions until the most urgent task, the establishment 
of the preconditions for the practical solution of these questions, is accomplished. The 
reactionary, on the other hand, spares no effort in assailing precisely the ultimate cultural 
goals of the revolution, which are obscured by the preliminary and immediate tasks. 

Cultural Bolshevism aims at the destruction of our existing culture and wants to so 
reconstruct it as to serve man’s earthly happiness... [Sic I] 

That’s how Kurt Hutten put it in his call to arms, Kulturbol-schewismus, published by 
the Volksbundes, 1931. Does political reaction’s accusation relate to that which the 

cultural revolution really, has in mind, or does it, for demagogic reasons, impute goals to 
the revolution that definitely do not lie within its compass? In the former case a defence 
and cleat elucidation of the necessity of these goals would be indispensable. In the latter, 
the proof of false imputation would be sufficient, that is to say, a denial of that which 
political reaction imputes to the revolution. 

How does political reaction itself appraise the antithesis between earthly happiness 
and religion? Kurt Hutten writes: 

To begin with: Cultural Bolshevism’s most fierce fight is directed against religion. For 
religion, as long as it is alive, constitutes the strongest bulwark against its goals . . . 
Religion subordinates all of human life to something supernatural, and eternal authority. 
It demands denial, sacrifice, renunciation of one’s own wishes. It imbues human life with 
responsibility, guilt , judgement, eternity. It inhibits an unbridled exhaustion of human 
drives. The revolution of culture is the cultural revolution of man, is the subjugation of 
all spheres of life to the pleasure principle [my italics, WR], 

Here we have a clear articulation of the reactionary rejection of earthly happiness. The 
reactionary leader senses a threat to the anchoring of imperialistic mysticism (‘culture’). 
He is much more keenly aware of this threat than the revolutionary is aware of his goal, 
for the latter must first concentrate his energy and knowledge on the changing of the 
social order. The reactionary leader recognizes the danger that the revolution constitutes 
to the authoritarian family and mystical moralism, long before the average revolutionary 
has the least notion that the revolution will entail such consequences. In this respect, 
indeed, the social revolutionary himself is very often prepossessed. The reactionary 
leader stands for heroism, the acceptance of affliction, the abiding of privation, absolutely 
and eternally; hence, he represents the interests of imperialism, whether he wants to or 
not (cf. Japan). To this end, however, he needs mysticism, that is to say, he needs sexual 
abstinence. To him happiness is essentially sexual gratification, and he is right in this 
appraisal. The revolutionary also demands a great deal of restraint, duty, renunciation, for 
the possibilities of happiness must first be fought for. In his practical work for the 
masses, the revolutionary easily forgets - and sometimes likes to forget - that the real goal 
is not work (social freedom brings about a continuous reduction of the working day), but 
sexual play and life in all of its forms, from orgasm to the highest accomplishments. 
Work is and remains the basis of life, but within the social framework, work is 
transferred from man to the machine. That is the essence of the economy of work. 

Sentences such as the following are to be found in many mystical and reactionary 
writings, even if they are not always so clearly formulated as in the case of Kurt Hutten: 

Cultural Bolshevism is not a recent thing. It takes as its basis a striving that was 
planted in man’s breast in primeval times: The intense longing for happiness. It is the 
primordial nostalgia for paradise on earth . . . The religion of faith is replaced by the 
religion of pleasure. 

We, however, want to know: Why shouldn’t we have happiness on earth? Why 
shouldn’t pleasure be the substance of life? 

Let the masses vote on this question! No reactionary conception of life would stand 
the test. 

To be sure, the reactionary leader perceives the relation of mysticism to compulsive 
marriage and compulsive family in a mystical way, but he perceives it correctly. 

To fulfil this responsibility (for the consequences of pleasure), human society has 
founded the institution of marriage which, as a life-long partnership, is intended to 
represent the protective framework for the sexual relationship. 

And the complete register of’ cultural values’, which fits into the fabric of reactionary 
ideology as parts into a machine, is immediately appended: 

Marriage as a tie, family as a duty, fatherland as a value in itself, morality as authority, 
religion as an obligation deriving from eternity. 

The rigidity of the human plasma could not be more accurately described! 

All reactionary types condemn sexual pleasure (not without impunity, however) 
because it attracts and repulses them at one and the same time. They cannot resolve the 
contradiction between sexual demands and moralistic inhibitions in themselves. The 
revolutionary negates perverse and pathological pleasure because it is not his pleasure, is 
not the sexuality of the future, but the pleasure born of the contradiction between moral- 
ity and instinct; it is the pleasure of a dictatorial society, debased, sordid, pathological 
pleasure. Only when he himself is not clear, he makes the mistake of condemning 
pathological pleasure, instead of opposing it with his own positive sex-economy. If, as a 
result of his own sexual inhibitions, he does not fully comprehend the goal of a social 
organization founded on freedom, he is apt to repudiate pleasure altogether, become an 
ascetic and thereby lose all possibility of establishing contact with the youth. In the 
otherwise excellent film The Road to Life, the sexual practices of disreputable people (in 
the tavern scene) are contrasted not with the sexual practices of people who are free but 
with ascetism and anti-sexuality. The sexual problem of adolescents is completely set 
aside. This is wrong and confuses the issue instead of solving it. 

The disintegration of moralistic codes in the sexual sphere is initially expressed as 
sexual rebellion; but at the outset it remains pathological sexual rebellion, from which the 
sex-economist rightly flees. The task, however, is to give a rational form to this rebellion, 
to lead it into a sex-economic channel, just as freedom of life was once born of 
convulsions of life. 


Sex-Economy in the Fight against Mysticism 

at a mass rally in Berlin in January of 1933, the National Socialist Otto Strasser asked 
his opponent, the sociologist and sinologist Wittfogel, a question which was so 
penetrating that it had a disconcerting effect. Those who were present were given the 
impression that Wittfogel’s reply could have meant mysticism’s doom. Strasser accused 
the Marxists of underestimating the importance of psychic life and religious feeling. His 
argument ran as follows: If religion, according to Marx, were really only the flower on 
the chain of the exploitation of toiling humanity, then how was it to be explained that 
religion had held up for thousands of years - the Christian religion, indeed, almost 
unchanged for two thousand years - especially in view of the fact that in the beginning its 
survival had demanded more sacrifice than all revolutions taken together. The question 

was not answered, but it fits in very well with the material under discussion. It had to be 
admitted that the question was justified. It was time for natural science to take stock of 
itself to determine whether its comprehension of mysticism and the means of its 
anchoring in the human structure was as thorough and as complete as it could be. The 
answer had to be in the negative: natural science had not yet succeeded in comprehending 
the powerful emotional content of mysticism. The exponents of mysticism had dealt with 
all sides of the question and given practical answers in their writings and sermons. The 
sex-political nature of every form of mysticism is evident. Yet it was as completely 
overlooked by the freethinkers as the equally evident sexuality of children had been 
overlooked by the most famous educators. It is clear that mysticism has a hidden bulwark 
at its disposal and that it has been defending this bulwark against natural science with 
every means at its command. Science is only beginning to divine its existence. 


I do not want at this point to make a thorough investigation of religious feeling. I 
would like merely to summarize what is already known. At a certain point there is a 
correlation between the phenomena of orgastic excitation and the phenomena of religious 
excitation, ranging from the simplest pious surrender to total religious ecstasy. The-idea 
of religious excitation is not to be confined to the sensations that are wont to arise in 
deeply religious people while attending a religious service. We have to include all 
excitations that are characterized by a definite psychic and somatic state of excitation. In 
other words, we also have to include the excitation experienced by submissive masses 
when they open themselves to a beloved leader’s speech, and the excitation one 
experiences when one allows oneself to be overwhelmed by impressive natural 
phenomena. Let us begin by summarizing what was known about religious phenomena 
before sex-economic research. 

Sociological research was able to show that religious forms and also the contents of 
various religions were dependent upon the stage of development of socio-economic 
conditions. For example, animal religions correspond to the mode of life of primitive 
peoples who lived from hunting. The way in which people conceive of a divine 
supernatural being is always determined by the level of the economy and of the culture. 
Another very important sociological factor in determining religious conceptions is man’s 
ability to master natural and social difficulties. Helplessness in the face of natural forces 
and elemental social catastrophes is conducive to the development of religious ideologies 
in cultural crises. Thus, the sociological explanation of religion refers to the socio- 
economic soil from which religious cult’s spring. It has nothing to say about the 
dynamics of religious ideology, nor does it give us any clue as to the psychic process that 
takes place in the people who come under the influence of this ideology. 

Thus, the formation of religious cults is not dependent upon the will of the individual. 
They are sociological formations, which originate from the interrelations between man 
and man and the relation of man to nature. 

The psychology of the unconscious added a psychological interpretation to the 
sociological interpretation of religion. The dependency of religious cults upon socio- 
economic factors was understood. Now one began to study the psychological process in 
the people who came under the influence of these objective religious cults. Thus, 

psychoanalysis was able to show that our idea of God is identical with our idea of father, 
that the idea of the Mother of God is identical with the mother of every religious 
individual. The triangle of father, mother and child is directly reflected in the trinity of 
the Christian religion. The psychic content of religion is drawn from early childhood 
familial relationships. 

Thus, psychological research enabled us to interpret the content of religious cults, but 
it gave us no insight into the energy process by means of which this content became em- 
bedded in man’s structure. Above all, no insight was given into the fanaticism and the 
high degree of emotionality of religious conceptions. Why the ideas of the all-powerful 
father and the benevolent mother became mystical ideas, and what relation they have to 
the sexual life of the individual, was also vague. 

Many sociologists have established that some patriarchal religions have an orgastic 
character. It has also been established that patriarchal religions are always of a political 
reactionary nature. They always serve the interests of the ruling power of every class 
society and preclude, to all intents and purposes, the elimination of mass misery by 
ascribing it to God’s will and by putting off claims to happiness with fine words about the 

To the existing knowledge on religion, sex-economic research now adds the following 

1. How do the idea of God, the ideology of sin and the ideology of punishment — 
which are produced by society and reproduced in the family - become embedded in the 

In other words: Why is it that man does not feel these basic conceptions of religion as 
a burden? What is it that compels him not only to accept them but to affirm them 
fervently, indeed, compels him to defend and preserve them at the sacrifice of his most 
fundamental interests of life? 

2. When do these religious conceptions become embedded in man? 

3. What energy is used to accomplish this? It is clear that until these three questions 
are answered, it may indeed be possible to give a sociological and psychological 
interpretation of religion, but it will not be possible to effect a real change in man’s 
structure. For if religious feelings are not imposed on man, but are embedded and 
retained in his structure, opposed as they are to his own vital interests, then what is 
needed is an energetic change in man’s structure. The basic religious idea of all 
patriarchal religions is the negation of sexual need. There are no exceptions, if we dis- 
regard the sexually affirmative primordial religions, in which the religious and the sexual 
experience were still a unity. In the transition of society from a matriarchal organization 
based on natural law to a patriarchal organization based on the division of classes, the 
unity of the religious and sexual cult was split. The religious cult became the antithesis of 
the sexual cult. At this juncture the sexual cult ceases to exist and is replaced by the 
barbarism of brothels, pornography and clandestine sexuality. No additional proof is 
required to show that at that moment when sexual experience ceased to constitute a unity 
with the religious cult and indeed became its antithesis, religious excitation also had to 
become a substitute for the socially affirmed sensuality that was lost. It is only on the 
basis of this contradiction in religious excitation, which is anti-sexual and a substitution 

for sexuality at one and the same time, that the strength and tenacity of religions can be 

The emotional structure of the genuinely religious man can be briefly described as 
follows: biologically, he is subject to sexual tensions just as all other human beings and 

Owing, however, to his assimilation of sex-negating religious conceptions, and 
especially to the fear of punishment that he has acquired, he has completely lost his 
ability to experience natural sexual tension and release. Consequently, he suffers from a 
chronic state of physical excitation, which he is continuously compelled to master. He is 
not only shut off from earthly happiness - it does not even appear desirable. Since he 
expects to be rewarded in the Beyond, he succumbs to a feeling of being incapable of 
happiness in this world. In view of the fact that he is a biologic creature and cannot under 
any circumstances forego happiness, release and gratification, he seeks illusionary 
happiness. This he can obtain from the fore pleasure of religious tensions, i.e., the 
vegetative somatic currents and excitations with which we are familiar. Together with his 
fellow believers, he will arrange entertainments and create institutions that alleviate this 
state of physical excitation and are also capable of disguising the real nature of this 
excitation. His biologic organism prompts him to construct a musical instrument, an 
organ, the sound of which is capable of evoking such currents in the body. The mystical 
darkness of the church intensifies the effect of a super personal sensibility to one’s own 
inner life and to the sounds of a sermon, a chorale, etc., intended to achieve this effect. 

In reality, the religious man has become completely helpless. As a result of the 
suppression of his sexual energy, he has lost his capacity for happiness as well as the 
aggressiveness necessary to deal with life’s difficulties. The more helpless he becomes, 
the more he is forced to believe in supernatural forces that support and shelter him. Thus, 
it is not difficult to understand that in some situations he is also capable of developing an 
incredible power of conviction, indeed, a passive indifference towards death. He draws 
this power from his love of his own religious conviction, which, as we said, is borne by 
highly pleasurable physical excitations. Naturally, he believes that this power stems from 
‘God’. In reality, therefore, his intense longing for God is the longing that derives from 
his excitations of sexual fore pleasure and clamours for release. Deliverance is and can be 
nothing other than the deliverance from the unbearable physical tensions, which can be 
pleasurable only as long as they are lost in a fantasized unification with God, i.e., with 
gratification and release. The tendency of fanatically religious people to injure 
themselves and to behave masochistically, etc., confirms what we have said. Clinical 
experience in sex-economy shows that the desire to be beaten or to castigate oneself 
corresponds to the instinctual desire for release without incurring guilt. There is no 
physical tension that will not evoke fantasies of being beaten or of being tortured as soon 
as the person concerned feels that he himself is incapable of bringing about the release. 
Here we have the root of the passive ideology of suffering of all genuine religions. 

The need to be consoled, supported and helped by others, especially in the struggle 
against one’s own evil impulses -’sins of the flesh’, as they are called - stems from one’s 
actual helplessness and intense physical suffering. If a religious person becomes more 
and more excited under the influence of religious conceptions, the state of vegetative 
irritation increases with the physical excitation and reaches a point of near gratification 

without, however, bringing about an actual physical release. It is known from the 
treatment of mentally sick priests that an involuntary ejaculation often occurs at the 
height of religious ecstasy. Normal orgastic gratification is replaced by a general 
condition of physical excitation, which excludes the genitals and, as if by accident, brings 
about a partial release against one’s will. 

Originally and naturally, sexual pleasure was the good, the beautiful, the happy, that 
which united man with nature in general. When sexual feelings and religious feelings 
became separated from one another, that which is sexual was forced to become the bad, 
the infernal, the diabolical. 

Elsewhere I attempted to show the etiology and mechanism of the pleasure anxiety, 
i.e., the fear of sexual excitation. Let me briefly summarize: As time goes on, people who 
are incapable of release must begin to sense sexual excitations as torturous, burdensome, 
and destructive. In fact, sexual excitation is destructive and torturous if it is not allowed 
to achieve release. Thus, we see that the religious conception of sex as an annihilating, 
diabolical force, predisposing one for final doom, is rooted in actual physical processes. 
As a result the attitude towards sexuality is forced to become divided: The typical 
religious and moralistic valuations ‘good’-’bad’, ‘heavenly’ -’earthly’, ‘divine’- 
’ diabolical’, etc., become the symbols of sexual gratification on the one hand and the 
punishment thereof on the other hand. 

The deep longing for redemption and release - consciously from ‘sins’, unconsciously 
from sexual tensions - is warded off. States of religious ecstasy are nothing other than 
conditions of sexual excitation of the vegetative nervous system, which can never be 
released. Religious excitation cannot be comprehended and therefore cannot be mastered, 
without first understanding the contradiction by which it is ruled. It is not only anti- 
sexual, but to a large extent sexual as well. It is not only moralistic; it is altogether 
unnatural. From a sex-economic point of view, it is unhygienic. 

In no social class do hysteria and perversions flourish to such an extent as they do in 
the ascetic circles of the church. One should not conclude from this, however, that these 
ascetics should be treated as perverse criminals. In talking with religious people it is often 
found that they have a very good understanding of their own condition. As everyone else, 
their personalities are divided into a public and a private side. Officially, they regard 
sexuality as a sin; privately, they know only too well that they cannot exist without their 
substitute gratifications. Indeed, many of them are accessible to the sex-economic 
resolution of the contradiction between sexual excitation and morality. If one does not 
reject them as human beings and succeeds in winning their confidence, one finds they 
understand very well that that which they describe as union with God is the feeling of 
relatedness to the process of nature as a whole, that their selfhood is a part of nature. As 
all human beings, they too feel themselves to be a microcosm in a macrocosm. It has to 
be admitted that their deep conviction has a true core. What they believe is really true, 
namely the vegetative currents of their bodies and the states of ecstasy to which they can 
rise. Especially in the case of men and women who come from poor social strata, 
religious feeling is absolutely genuine. It loses its genuineness only insofar as it rejects 
and veils from itself its origin and the unconscious desire for gratification. It is in this 
way that that attitude of priests and religious people that has a contrived goodness about 
it comes into being. 

This presentation is incomplete. Summarizing the basic points, however, we can say: 

1. Religious excitation is vegetative excitation whose sexual nature is disguised. 

2. Through the mystification of the excitation, the religious individual negates his 

3. Religious ecstasy is a substitute for orgastic vegetative excitation. 

4. Religious ecstasy does not produce a sexual release; at best, it produces a muscular 
and mental fatigue. 

5. Religious feeling is subjectively genuine and has a physiological basis. 

6. The negation of the sexual nature of this excitation causes one’s character to lose its 

Children do not believe in God. It is when they have to learn to suppress the sexual 
excitation that goes hand in hand with masturbation that the belief in God generally 
becomes embedded in them. Owing to this suppression, they acquire a fear of pleasure. 
Now they begin to believe in God in earnest and to develop a fear of him. On the one 
hand they fear him as an omniscient and omnipotent being, and on the other hand they 
invoke his protection against their own sexual excitation. All of this has the function of 
avoiding masturbation. Thus, it is in early childhood that religious ideas become 
embedded. However, the idea of God would not be able to bind the child’s sexual energy 
if it were not also associated with the actual figures of father and mother. He who does 
not honour the father is sinful. In other words, he who does not fear the father and 
indulges in sexual pleasure is punished. The strict father, who denies the fulfilment of the 
child’s desires, is God’s representative on earth and, in the fantasy of the child, is the 
executioner of God’s will. If the respect for the father is shaken by a clear insight into his 
weaknesses and human inadequacies, this does not lead to his rejection by the child. He 
continues to exist in the figure of the abstract mystical conception of. God. In a 
patriarchal social organization an appeal to God is really an appeal to the actual authority 
of the father. When a child invokes ‘God’, he is really invoking his actual father. In the 
structure of the child, sexual excitation, idea of father and idea of God constitute a unity. 
In treatment we meet this unity as a palpable condition of genital muscular spasm. With 
the elimination of the spastic condition in the genital musculature, the idea of God and 
the fear of the father always lose ground. Hence, the genital spasm not only represents the 
physiological anchoring of religious fear in the human structure, but at the same time it 
also produces, the pleasure anxiety that becomes the core of every religious morality. 

I have to leave it to later investigations to work out the very complicated and detailed 
interrelations among the different kinds of cults, socio-economic social organization and 
human structure. Genital shyness and pleasure anxiety remains the energetic core of all 
anti-sexual patriarchal religions. 


Religiosity that is hostile to sex is the product of patriarchal authoritarian society. The 
son-father relationship, which we find in every patriarchal religion, is only the inevitable 
socially determined content of religious experience. The experience itself, however, 

derives from the patriarchal suppression of sexuality. The function that religion comes to 
serve in the course of time, the bearing of obedience towards authority and renunciation, 
is also only a secondary function of religion. It can build upon a solid foundation: the 
structure of patriarchal man moulded by means of sexual suppression. It is the negation 
of the pleasures of the body that serves as the living source of the religious view, and is 
the axis of every religious dogma. This is especially evident in the religions of 
Christianity and Buddhism. 

Anchoring of Mysticism in Childhood 

Lieber Gott, nun schlaficb ein, 

Scbicke mir ein Engelein. 

Vater, lass die Augen Dein , 

Ueber meinem Bette sein. 

Hab icb Unrecbt bent getan, 

Sieb es, Ueber Gott, nicbt an. 

Vater, bob mit mir Geduld 
Und vergib mir meine Scbuld. 

Alle Menscben, gross und klein 
Mogen Dir befoblen sein. 

[Dear God, now I go to sleep, 

Send me a little angel. 

Father, may your eyes 
Rest upon my bed. 

If today I have transgressed 
Overlook it, dear God. 

Father, be patient with me 
And forgive my trespasses. 

May all men, big and small, 

Be recommended to your Mercy.] 

This is one of the many typical prayers that children have to recite before going to 
sleep. The content of such texts is ignored. And yet these texts are a concentrated form of 
the substance and emotional content of mysticism. In the first couplet, we have a plea for 
protection; in the second, a repetition of this plea made directly to the ‘father’; in the 
third, a plea for forgiveness for a committed sin: may the God-Father overlook our 
trespasses. What does this guilt-feeling refer to? 

What is it that God is supposed to overlook? The guilt experienced from the playing 
with one’s sexual organs stands at the top of the list of forbidden deeds. 

The forbidding of the child to play with his sexual organs would be ineffective if it 
were not reinforced by the idea that God sees everything, and therefore the child has to be 
‘good’ even when the parents are away. Those who feel inclined to dismiss this 
association as a stretch of the imagination may be convinced by the following impressive 
story. It gives a very dear picture of the anchoring of the mystical idea of God by means 
of sexual anxiety. 

A girl of some seven years of age who was consciously brought up without any idea of 
God suddenly developed a compulsion to pray. It was compulsive because she really 
didn’t want to pray and felt it to be against her better judgement. The background of this 
compulsion to pray is as follows: The child was in the habit of masturbating before going 
to sleep every night. One night, for some reason, she was afraid to do so; instead she had 
the impulse to kneel down in front of her bed and to recite a prayer similar to the one 
quoted above. ‘If I pray, I won’t be afraid.’ It was on the day she renounced masturbation 
for the first time that fear appeared. Whence this self-renunciation? She told her father, 
who had her complete confidence, that a few months earlier she had had an unpleasant 
experience while on vacation. As so many children, she and a boy had played at having 
sexual intercourse (‘had played Mummy and Daddy’). Another boy had suddenly come 
upon them and had shouted ‘shame’ at them. Though she had been told by her parents 
that there was nothing wrong with such games, she felt ashamed and, in place of the 
game, masturbated before going to sleep. One evening, shortly before the appearance of 
the compulsion to pray, she had walked home from a house party with several other 
children. Along the way they had sung revolutionary songs. An old woman passed them 
who reminded her of the witch in Hansel and Gretel. This old woman had called out to 
them: ‘May the Devil take you - you band of atheists! ‘That evening, when she wanted to 
masturbate again, it struck her for the first time that perhaps there really was a God who 
sees and punishes. Unconsciously, she had associated the old woman’s threat with the 
experience with the boy. Now she too began to struggle against masturbation, became 
afraid and to allay her fear began to pray compulsively. Prayer had taken the place of 
sexual gratification. Nonetheless, the fear did not give way completely. She began to 
have frightful nocturnal fantasies. From that time on she was afraid of a supernatural 
being who could punish her for her sexual offences. Hence, she recommended herself to 
His care. This constituted a reinforcement of her struggle against the temptation to 
masturbate. This is not to be looked upon as an isolated occurrence. It is typical of the 
process whereby the idea of God becomes embedded in the overwhelming majority of the 
children of religious cultural circles. As we have learned from the analytic study of fairy 
tales, the same function is served by such fairy tales as Hansel and Gretel, in which there 
is a concealed - but for the unconscious of the child unambiguous - threat of punishment 
for masturbation. We cannot at this point enter into the details of the genesis of the 
child’ s mystical thinking from such fairy tales and the relation between mystical thinking 
and sexual inhibition. In all cases treated by character analysis, it was clearly shown that 
mystical sentiments develop from the fear of masturbation in the form of a general 
feeling of guilt. It is difficult to understand how this fact could have been overlooked by 
analytic research until now. One’s own conscience, the internalized admonitions and 
threats of the parents and teachers, are objectified in the idea of God. Scientific research 

has made this clear. It is less clear that faith and fear of God are energetic sexual 
excitations that have exchanged their goal and content. Accordingly, the religious feeling 
is the same as the sexual feeling, except that it is imbued with a mystical, psychic 
content. This explains the frequency with which sexual elements appear in many ascetic 
practices, e.g., the delusion of some nuns that they are the brides of Christ. It is not very 
likely that such ideas attain to genital consciousness. In most cases they revert to other 
sexual paths, e.g., masochistic martyrdom. 

Let us return to our little girl. The compulsion to pray disappeared when she was made 
aware of the origin of her fear; this awareness made it possible for her to masturbate 
again without feelings of guilt. As improbable as this incident may appear, it is pregnant 
with meaning for sex-economy. It shows how the mystical contagion of our youth could 
be prevented. Several months after the disappearance of the compulsion to pray, the little 
girl wrote a letter to her father from a summer camp: 

Lieber Karli, there is a cornfield here and we have set up our hospital on the edge of it 
(only pretending of course). We always play doctor there (we are five girls). If one of us 
has a hurt on our ding-dong, then he goes there, where we have salves and creams and 
cotton. We swiped all that. 

Who will deny that this is sexual Cultural Revolution? Sexual revolution, yes - but 
Cultural Revolution? The girl is in the same class with children who are an average of 
one to two years older than she, and her teachers bear witness to her diligence and talents. 
In politics and general knowledge she is far ahead of other girls her age, and she has a 
very lively interest in reality. Twelve years later, she was sexually healthy, intellectually 
outstanding and socially liked. 

The Anchoring of Mysticism in Adolescen ts 

Using the little girl as an example, I attempted to show how religious fear becomes 
anchored in a small child. Sexual anxiety is the main vehicle in the anchoring of the 
authoritarian social order in the child’s structure. Now we want to pursue this function of 
sexual anxiety into the puberty period. Let us have a look at one of the typical anti-sexual 

To Land or to Strand 

Nietzsche: Their souls are steeped in mire, and woe unto us if the mire is imbued with 

Kierkegaard: If Reason alone is baptized, the passions remain pagan. 

Two rocks are placed in the life of each man. He can land on them or be stranded on 
them, set himself right or be dashed to pieces: God and - the opposite sex. Countless 
young men are stranded or fail in life, not because they did not learn enough, but because 
they fail to gain clarity about God and because they cannot cope with the instinct which 
can bring man ineffable happiness, but also unfathomable misery: the sexual instinct. 

There are so many men who never achieve full manhood because they are dominated 
by their instincts. Actually, strong instincts alone are no reason to be grieved. On the 
contrary, they constitute wealth and intensity of life. They are the rousing cry to a strong 
personality. But the instinct becomes a burden to itself and a sin against the Creator, 

when man ceases to keep it under control, loses his authority over it and becomes its 
slave. In man, it is either the spiritual or the instinctual, i.e., bestial that predominates. 
The two are incompatible with one another. Thus, every thoughtful man is one day faced 
with the imponderable question: Do you want to know the real meaning of your life, to 
illuminate it, or do you want to be consumed in the fiery furnace of your unbridled 

Do you want to live your life as an animal or as a man of God? 

The process of attaining manhood - which is what we are concerned with here - is the 
problem of the hearth-fire. Tempered and controlled, the fire illuminates and warms the 
room, but - mercy upon us, if the fire leaps forth from the hearth I Mercy upon us if the 
sexual instinct so dominates the whole man that it becomes the master of all his thoughts, 
acts and endeavours ! 

We live in sick times. In earlier times, one demanded that eros be disciplined and 
made responsible. Today we are of the opinion that modern man no longer has need of 
discipline. In this regard, however, we fail to see that present-day man living in the big 
city is much more nervous and weaker of will and therefore requires more discipline. 

Cast your eyes around you: It is not mind that rules in our fatherland. Unbridled drives 
have the upper hand, and among our youth it is chiefly the undisciplined sexual drive, 
which degenerates into immorality. In the factory and in the office, on the stage and in 
public life, it is the spirit of the half-world that holds sway; obscenity is the order of the 
day. And who can say how much joyous youthful pleasure goes to ruin in the plague- 
palaces of the big city, in the dance-halls and cabarets, pin-ball galleries and obscene 
movies! The young man of today considers himself pretty clever when he adheres to the 
hedonist theory. In truth, however, the words of Goethe’s Mephistopheles apply to him: 

‘He calls it Reason, using light celestial 
Just to outdo the beasts in being bestial.’ 

Two things, yes, two things render difficult the process of attaining manhood: the 
metropolis with its abnormal conditions and the demon in ourselves. The young man who 
comes to the metropolis alone for the first time, perhaps from a well-sheltered home, sees 
himself surrounded by a wealth of new impressions. Unceasing noise, exciting sights, 
erotic books and magazines, bad air, alcohol, movies, theatres, and provocatively dressed 
females everywhere he turns. Who can stand up to such a concentrated onslaught? And to 
the external temptation, the internal demon is only too happy to give his assent. For 
Nietzsche was right, ‘the soul is steeped in mi re.’ In all men ‘the wild hounds are howling 
in the cellar’ waiting to be set free. 

Many fall prey to the compulsion of immorality because the dangers were not 
explained to them at the proper time. Such men will be grateful for an open word of 
warning and advice enabling them to escape and turn back. 

Usually, one is first exposed to immorality in the form of masturbation. Scientific 
investigations show that this is usually begun at a frightfully early age. It is true; the 
consequences of this bad habit are often exaggerated. Yet, the judgement of respected 
physicians must give everyone pause for thought. Professor Dr Hartung, long-time senior 

physician of dermatology at the Allerheiligen-Hospital in Breslau, has this to say on this 
matter: ‘There is no doubt that an excessive indulgence of this propensity is severely 
harmful to the body, and that it is precisely in later life that disturbances result from the 
indulgence of this vice. They are usually manifested in form of general nervousness, 
mental incapacity for work and physical prostration.’ 

He also stresses the fact that the young man who practises masturbation does 
something dirty in his consciousness: be also loses his self-respect and bis clear brow. 
The continual consciousness of a loathsome secret which has to be concealed from 
others, morally degrades him in his own eyes. He goes on to say that those young people 
who indulge in this vice become indolent and sloppy, lose their desire to work, and that 
all kinds of nervous and irritable conditions weaken their memory and their efficiency. 
Other respected physicians who have written on this subject agree with Dr Hartung. 

But masturbation not only fouls the blood, it does away with spiritual forces and 
inhibitions which are necessary for the process of attaining manhood. It deprives the soul 
of its resoluteness. If it becomes habitual, it has the effect of a gnawing worm. 

However, the consequences of immorality with the opposite sex are much worse. It is 
certainly not by chance that man’s most terrible scourge - venereal disease - is a result of 
this transgression. It is only astounding how incredibly foolish people are in this area, 
people who otherwise tend to be sensible. 

Dr Paul Lazarus, Professor at the University of Berlin, painted a shocking picture of 
the deep psychic and physical illness of our people caused by venereal disease. 

Syphilis must be designated as one of the most effective grave-diggers of our national 

But also gonorrhoea, which many young men are foolish enough to take lightly, is a 
serious and dangerous disease. And the very fact that it is not possible for medical 
science to cure it with certainty should be enough to banish all levity on the subject. 

Professor Binswanger had this to say about venereal disease: ‘It is remarkable that 
cases of infection which appear to be very minor lead to severe suffering, that often many 
years elapse between the original infection and the outbreak of an incurable nervous com- 
plaint, and that more than 60 % of the cases of that disease, which occurs so frequently 
today and is called a softening of the brain by laymen, can be traced back to earlier sexual 

Is it not a thought which shakes us to our innermost core that, owing to such sins of 
our youth, those who will one day be closest to us - wife and child - may have to suffer 
such terrible illnesses? 

But I have to mention one other aberration, which is far more rife today than some 
would imagine: homosexuality. Let us make this much clear at the outset: We want to 
extend our warmest sympathy and understanding to all those who, owing to inclination or 
heredity in this area, wage a quiet and often desperate struggle in an effort to maintain 
their purity. Hail to those who achieve a victory, for they wrestle with God on their side. 
But just as Jesus loved the individual sinner and helped everyone who wanted to be 
helped, yet countered sin itself with holy earnestness, so we too to counter the 
phenomenon of homosexuality which corrupts our youth and our people as a whole. 
There was already a time in which the world was on the verge of drowning in a flood of 

perversity. At that time it was the gospel that vanquished the culture so engulfed in the 
putrefaction of these repulsive offences and lewdness, and established a new culture. 
Speaking of the slaves and victims of these sins, Paul wrote to the Romans: \ . . and the 
men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for 
one another. Men committed shameless acts with men. . . For this reason God gave them 
up. . . ’ Romans 1.27 & 2.6. Homosexuality is the mark of Cain, of a godless and soulless 
culture which is sick to the core. It is the consequence of the prevailing view of the world 
and of life, the highest aim of which is love of pleasure. Professor Foerster has rightfully 
stated in his Sexualetbik: ‘Where spiritual heroism is made fun of and the sowing of 
one’s wild oats is glorified, everything which is perverse, demonic and vile plucks up 
courage to manifest itself openly; indeed, it scoffs at the healthy as an illness and sets 
itself up as the standard of life.’ 

We see today things which man fears to admit in his most hidden depravity. 
Completely different things will come to light, and then one will understand that only a 
great spiritual power - the gospel of Jesus Christ - can be of help here. 

However, some will raise objections to what has been said. ‘Are we not dealing,’ you 
will say perhaps, ‘with a natural instinct which has to be satisfied?’ - Unchained passions 
are not something natural, but something highly unnatural. In almost all cases it is only 
through one’s own guilt or through the guilt of others that the wicked desire is sowed, 
ignited and fed. Take an alcoholic or a drug addict: Is his craving for alcohol or morphine 
something natural? Only by indulging this vice repeatedly does it become an unnatural 
craving. The instinct implanted in us by God for marriage and the preservation of 
mankind is in itself good and not at all too difficult to curb. Thousands of men are 
successful in controlling it in the right way. 

‘But isn’t it harmful for a mature man to abstain from these things?’ Professor Dr 
Hartung, whom we should like to quote again, says literally: ‘I will answer you short and 
clear: No, it is not. If anyone ever told you that a healthy man could get sick from chastity 
and abstinence in the broad sense of the words, be put you on the wrong track altogether. 
And if that person had really thought over what he told you, then he was either an 
ignorant or wicked man. 

One must be urgently warned against the use of contraceptives. The only sure 
protection is abstinence until marriage. 

I have made an honest and truthful attempt to open your eyes to the consequences of 
immorality. You have seen the ruin of both body and spirit of those who indulge in these 
sins. Added to this, however, is also the harm which results to the soul from this vice. I 
swear to you in holy earnestness: Unchastity is a crime against God. It deprives one of 
one’s peace of mind and prevents one from obtaining true joy and serenity. It is written: 
‘For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption . . .’ Gal. 6:8. 

The spirit of the half -world moves in with inevitable necessity wherever the connection 
to the over-world is lost. 

For all those, however, who do not want to be or do not want to remain the victims of 
immorality, I want to add a few words of advice and encouragement. One must make a 
complete break with the sins of immorality in thought, word and deed. This is what must 
be heeded by those who do not want to become its slave. Obviously, places of corruption 

and sin must not be sought out, indeed, everything must be avoided as much as possible 
which would in any way assist corruption. Thus, association and intercourse with 
immoral young men and women are to be avoided at all cost; the reading of obscene 
books, the viewing of vile pictures and the visiting of dubious performances must also be 
avoided. In short, you have to seek out good associates, through whom you will be 
preserved and elevated. Everything is to be recommended which hardens the body and 
eases the fight against immorality, such as gymnastics, sports, swimming, hikes and 
getting up as soon as one wakes up. Moderation in the consumption of food and above 
all of beverages. Alcohol is to be avoided. All this, however, is not enough, for many 
men, even when they follow this advice, are forced to make the painful discovery that the 
unchained instinct is much too strong. Where are we to find the firmness so necessary to 
resistance: the energy needed for victory, if we are not to lose what is best in us, our 
personality? When temptation comes to us in glowing allurement, when the blazing fire 
of sensual pleasure shoots forth, -we find that education alone does not help. Energy, 
vital energy -that is what we need to master our drives and to subdue the vile forces in us 
and outside of us. There is only one who gives us this energy: Jesus. Through his bloody 
expiatory death, he not only procured remission for us - so that we can find peace from 
the indictment of our conscience - he is also the vital energy of a new, pure life for us, 
through his very spirit. Through him, even a will paralysed in the service of sin can 
become firm again and be resurrected to freedom and to life, and successfully stand the 
test in the difficult struggle with sin. 

Let him who wants to achieve real freedom come to the living i saviour, who has 
deprived sin of its power and has abounding energy and help for everyone. This is not 
Christian theory, but a fact which many sorely troubled young men have tried and 
experience daily. Whenever possible, unbosom yourself to a sincere Christian and true 
friend, who can counsel and help you in your struggle. For there will be a struggle, but a 
struggle which promises victory. 

And now, in conclusion, let me address this question to you personally: How are 
things with you, my friend, and what do you intend to do with this admonition? 

Do you want to ruin yourself to please frivolous and unprincipled people? Or do you 
want to join forces with pure, noble men, whose company will elevate your soul and 
harden your will to struggle against everything vile? Do you want to be a man who, 
through his words, his example and his being, is a curse to himself and others, or do you 
want always more intensely to be a man who-is a blessing to his fellowman? 

Do you want, for the sake of a few moments of transitory pleasure, to ruin your body, 
character and soul - now and forever -or be saved, as long as there is still time ? 

I beg you - answer these questions honestly and have the courage to do what God has 
made clear to your conscience I 

Choose honestly! Half-world or Over-world? Animal or Man of Spirit? Land or 

In this pamphlet, youth is given the alternative: God or sexuality. To be sure, ‘full 
manhood’ as well as ‘super- manhood’ requires more than asexuality, but this is its first 
prerequisite. The setting up of ‘animal’ and ‘man of spirit’ as opposites follows from the 
setting up of ‘sexual’ and ‘spiritual’ as opposites. It is the antithesis that always forms the 

basis of every theosophical moral philosophy. It has been unassailable until now because 
its basis, the negation of sex, was not impugned. 

From early childhood on, the average youth is faced with the acute conflict between 
sexuality and fear, the heritage of the authoritative parental home. A pamphlet such as the 
one quoted above forces the youth in the direction of mysticism without, however, 
getting rid of the difficulties. The Catholic Church circumvents this difficulty by 
periodically absolving the youth’s masturbation in confession. By so doing, however, it 
entangles itself in another difficulty. The church maintains its basis in the masses by two 
kinds of measures: It binds the masses to itself by means of sexual anxiety, and it stresses 
its anti-capitalistic position. It condemns the life of the big city with its many 
opportunities of leading young men and women astray, for it must fight against the 
revolutionary sexual force that is awakened in the youth by big-city life. On the other 
hand, the sexual life of the masses concentrated in big cities is characterized by an acute 
contradiction between a pressing sexual need and minimal material and structural 
possibilities for gratification. Essentially, the nature of this contradiction is that the very 
family authority that has been destroyed by the economic crises and by sexual anguish is 
again defended by every available means. The recognition of such contradictions is very 
important, for it opens broad possibilities of assailing political reaction’s ideological 
apparatus in its weakest spot. 

Where is it that the youth is to seek the energy to subdue his genital titillations? In 
faith in Jesus! As a matter of fact, he does derive an enormous power against his 
sexuality from his faith in Jesus. What is the basis of its mechanism? The mystical 
experience puts him in a state of vegetative excitation, which never culminates in natural 
orgastic gratification. The youth’s sexual drive develops in a passive homosexual direc- 
tion. In terms of the drive’s energy, passive homosexuality is the most effective 
counterpart of natural masculine sexuality, for it replaces activity and aggression by 
passivity and masochistic attitudes, that is to say, by precisely those attitudes that 
determine the mass basis of patriarchal authoritarian mysticism in the human structure. 
At the same time, however, this implies unquestioning loyalty, faith in authority and 
ability to adapt to the institution of patriarchal compulsive marriage. In short, religious 
mysticism pits one sexual drive against another. It even avails itself of sexual 
mechanisms to achieve its goals. These nongenital sexual stimuli, which it has partially 
set in motion and partially brought to a peak, determine in turn the mass psychology of 
the followers: moralistic masochism (often with distinct physical manifestations) and 
passive subordination. Religion draws its power from the suppression of genital 
sexuality, which, on a secondary level, entails a regression along the line of passive and 
masochistic homosexuality. Thus, in terms of the dynamics of the drive, religion is based 
on genital anxiety and on the substitution of genitality by secondary impulses that are no 
longer natural to the adolescent. Sex-economy’s task among religious-mystical 
adolescents is to pit the natural genital demands against the secondary (homosexual) and 
mystical drives. It is in complete accord with the objective line of development of social 
progress in the sex-economic sphere: elimination of genital negation and affirmation of 
adolescent genital sexuality. 

However, the question is not exhausted solely by disclosing the mechanism by which 
the masses are infected. The cult of the Virgin Mary assumes an especially important 
position in this. Let us have a look at another typical pamphlet. 

Veneration of the Virgin Mary and the Young Man 
by Gerhard Kremer, Dr of Theol. 

Catholic youths who are genuinely pious will always feel a sincere affection for the 
ideal of the Virgin Mary. It is not as if the veneration of the Virgin Mary would detract 
from a warm and strong devotion to Christ. On the contrary, a true veneration of the 
Virgin Mary must lead to Christ and a moral code of life. We do not want to dispense 
with the ideal of the Virgin Mary for the moral and religious education of our youth. 

Youth is the age of becoming, of external and internal struggle. Passions awaken; 
there is a fermenting and wrestling in man, a turbulent urging and awakening. To meet 
this distress, the youth must have an ideal, strong and powerful, an illuminating shining 
ideal, which will not be shaken by the urging and fermenting ideal must elevate the 
wavering mind and rouse the wavering heart. Its radiance will eclipse the ignoble and 
vile. Such an ideal is the Virgin Mary, for it is she who embodies an all-radiant purity 
and beauty. ‘It is said that there are women whose very presence educates us; whose very 
behaviour banishes sordid thoughts, prevents all questionable words from crossing our 
lips. The Virgin Mary is the epitome of such a woman. A young knight devoted to her 
service is incapable of vulgarity. But if- forgetting her presence - he should nonetheless 
slip, the remembrance of her will cause inconsolable anguish of soul and at the same time 
help the noble mind to regain its authority [P. Schilgen S. J.].’ 

To the young man, the Virgin Mary stands out as unrivalled grace, loftiness and 
dignity, the like of whom is not to be found in nature, art and the world of man. Why 
have artists and painters devoted their skill and creativity to the Madonna again and 
again? It is because they perceive in her the most sublime beauty and dignity. It is a 
dignity and beauty which never disappoints. Here we have a mistress and queen, ‘to serve 
whom, for whom to exist, must be the highest honour for the young man. Here we have 
an exalted woman and bride of the spirit, to whom you can give yourself with the full 
power of the love which gushes from your youthful heart, without having to fear 
degradation and desecration.’ 

The ideal of the Virgin Mary should inspire young men. Especially in an age which 
takes pleasure in darkening the radiant and dragging what is lofty into the mire, the ideal 
of the Virgin Mary should shine forth as a salvation and power. In this ideal the young 
man will perceive that there is indeed something great and elevated in beauty and 
chastity. Here he will find the strength to walk the steep path, even if all the others lose 
their best in the depths. The ideal of the Virgin Mary will fortify him who wavers, lift up 
and strengthen him who stumbles. Indeed, it will so overwhelm him who has fallen that 
he will be rehabilitated with new courage. The Virgin Mary is that radiant star which will 
illuminate the passion of the young individual in the dark night, that star which calls forth 
what is noble in him when everything appears to be shattered in him. 

Look up, O young men, you who have your ideal meaning and wrestle for holy 
virtues, look up to your mistress and queen. How can a young man look up to her without 
being filled with holy idealism? How can he address her in Ave Maria, without feeling a 
keen longing for chastity? How can he sing the glorious songs about the Virgin Mary 
without feeling the courage to fight? How could a young man who has grasped the ideal 

of the Virgin Mary deprive a woman of her chastity? How can he call her mother and 
queen and then acquire a taste for female indignity? When the ideal of the Virgin Mary is 
taken seriously, it becomes a strong incentive for every young man, a mighty summons to 
chastity and manliness. ’ Ga2ing upon her, her image locked in your heart, must you not 
become chaste, no matter how hard you must wrestle?’ 

The young man’s attitude towards girls and towards women is decisive for his moral 

‘In former days when knights were dubbed, the knight had to give his solemn promise 
to protect defenceless women. That was when cathedrals were built in honour of the 
queen of heaven [P. Gemmel S. J.].’ There is an intimate relation between courtship of 
the Virgin Mary and true chivalry towards the female sex. The man who is inspired by 
the ideal of the Virgin Mary must of necessity bear within himself that knightly dub 
which stems from reverent respect for female dignity and majesty. Therefore, the dubbing 
of the knight in the middle Ages bound the young man to holy Minnedienst, as well as to 
the protection of a woman’s honour. The symbols of this knighthood no longer exist: but 
what is worse is that, more and more, shy reverence for women is dying out among the 
male youth and is giving way to a frivolous and vile robber-knighthood. Just as the 
knights of old in armour and arms protect and shelter frail femininity and innocence, so 
should and must the true man of today feel himself to be in the debt of the honour and 
innocence of woman. True manliness and real nobility of heart will become known to the 
female sex most easily and most beautifully. Lucky the young man who has girded his 
passion with this armour I Lucky the girl who has found the love of such a young man! 
‘Inflict no wrong on a girl and remember that your mother too was once a girl. ’ 

The young man of today is the husband of tomorrow. How will the husband and man 
be able to protect womanhood and assure female respect, if the young man and fiance has 
desecrated love and engagement! Engagement is to be a time of undesecrated love. How 
many men’s fate would be happier, if the ideal of the Virgin Mary were more keenly 
alive in the world of youth. How much suffering and grief could be avoided, if young 
men would not play shameless games with the love of a girl’s soul. Hear me, O young 
people, let the radiant light of the ideal of the Virgin Mary illuminate your love, so that 
you don’t trip and fall. 

The ideal of the Virgin Mary can mean a great deal to our young men. It is precisely 
for this reason that we have unfurled the banner of the Virgin Mary in our youth clubs 
and congregations. O that our young Catholic men would rally around this banner! 

[Katholisches Kirchenblatt, no. 18, 3 May 19311 

The cult of the Virgin Mary is drawn upon very successfully as a means of inculcating 
chastity. Again we must inquire into the psychological mechanism that is capable of 
assuring the success of these intentions. It is a problem of the masses of young men and 
women who are subjected to this influence. It is chiefly a matter of overpowering genital 
drives. Just as the Jesus cult mobilizes passive homosexual forces against the genitals, the 
cult of the Virgin Mary also mobilizes sexual forces, this time from the heterosexual 
sphere itself. ‘Inflict no wrong on a girl and remember that your mother too was once a 
girl.’ Thus, in the emotional life of Christian youths, the Mother of God assumes the role 

of one’s own mother, and the Christian youth showers upon her all the love that he had 
for his own mother at one time, that very ardent love of his first genital desires. But the 
incest prohibition cleaves his genital desires into an intense longing for orgasm on the 
one hand and asexual tenderness on the other hand. The intense longing for orgasm has to 
be repressed, and its energy intensifies one’s tender strivings and moulds them into an 
almost indissoluble tie to the mystical experience. This intense longing offers violent 
resistance, not only to the incestuous desire, but to every natural genital relationship with 
a woman. The same vital energy and enormous love that a healthy young man puts forth 
in an orgastic experience with his loved one is used by the mystical man to support the 
mystical cult of the Virgin Mary, after genital sensuality has been suppressed. This is the 
source from which mysticism draws its forces. Being unsatisfied forces, they should not 
be underestimated. They make intelligible the age-old power of mysticism over man and 
the inhibitions that operate against the responsibility of the masses. 

In this regard it is not a matter of the veneration of the Virgin Mary or of any other 
idol. It is a matter of producing a mystical structure in the masses in every new 
generation. But mysticism is nothing other than unconscious longing for orgasm (cosmic 
plasmatic sensations). The orgastically potent, healthy man is capable of great veneration 
of historical figures. But there is no correlation between his appreciation of man’s 
primordial history and his sexual happiness. He does not have to become mystical, 
reactionary, or a slave to metaphysics to appreciate historical phenomena. Healthy 
adolescent sexuality would not necessarily have to stifle veneration for the Jesus legend. 
The Old and the New Testament can be appreciated as stupendous achievements of the 
human mind, but this appreciation should not be used to suppress sexuality. My medical 
experience has taught me that adolescents who are sexually sick have an unhealthy 
appreciation of the legend of Jesus. 


For the sexually mature young man who has a sex-economic structure, the orgastic 
experience with a woman constitutes a gratifying bond; it elevates the partner and effaces 
any tendency to degrade the woman who has shared the experience. In the case of 
orgastic impotence, only the psychic forces of defence can come into play, nausea and 
disgust at genital sensuality. These defence forces draw their energy from several 
sources. To begin with, the defensive force is at least as strong as the genital yearning 
that is being resisted. And the fact that it has not been satisfied has only intensified it, nor 
does it make the least difference that it is unconscious. In addition, the actual 
brutalization of sexuality in modern man offers some justification for the disgust at 
sexual intercourse. This brutalized sexuality becomes the prototype of sexuality in 
general. Thus, compulsive morality produces precisely that to which it later appeals to 
justify its existence (‘sexuality is asocial’). A third emotional source of the defence forces 
is the sadistic conception of sexuality that the children of all patriarchal cultural circles 
acquire in early childhood. Since every inhibition of genital gratification intensifies the 
sadistic impulse, the entire sexual structure becomes sadistic. Since, moreover, genital 
claims are replaced by anal claims, the reactionary sexual slogan that a woman is 
degraded by sexual intercourse strikes a chord in the adolescent structure. In short, it is 
owing to the already existing perversity in the adolescent structure that the slogan can be 

effective. It is from his own personal experience that the adolescent has developed a 
sadistic conception of sexual intercourse. Thus, here too we find a confirmation of the 
fact that man’s compulsive moralistic defence forces constitute the basis of political 
reaction’s power. Ever more sharply, the relation between mystical sentiments and sexual 
‘morality’ is brought into focus. Regardless of the content of the mystical experience, it is 
essentially the negation of genital strivings. It is essentially sexual defence, and it takes 
place with the help of nongenital sexual excitations. The difference between the sexual 
response and the mystical response is that the latter does not allow the perception of 
sexual excitation and precludes orgastic release, even in cases of so-called religious 

Perception of sexual desire excluded and orgasm precluded, mystical excitation is 
forced to effect a permanent change in the biopsychic apparatus. The sexual act itself is 
experienced as something degrading. There is never a complete natural experience. The 
warding off of orgastic desire forces the ego to form compulsive conceptions of ‘purity’ 
and ‘perfection’. Healthy sensuousness and the ability to gratify one’s desires produces 
natural self-confidence. The defensive formations in the mystical man result in a 
pathological self-confidence that is rotten at the core. Just as the self-confidence of the 
nationalist, the self-confidence of the mystical man is drawn from the defensive attitudes. 
Even on the surface, however, the self-confidence of the mystical man differs from the 
self-confidence that derives from natural genital gratification. The former is exaggerated, 
lacks naturalness in behaviour, and is characterized by feelings of sexual inferiority. This 
explains why the man who has been inculcated with mystical or nationalistic ‘ethics’ is so 
accessible to political reactionary catchwords, such as honour, purity, etc. He is 
continually forced to remind himself to be honourable and pure. The genital character is 
spontaneously pure and honourable - he does not have to be constantly reminded. 


Some Questions of Sex- Political Practice 


Reactionary academic research postulates a ‘separation between that which is and that 
which should be’, between ‘cognition and execution’. Therefore, it imagines itself to be 
‘nonpolitical’, to be divorced from politics. Logic, indeed, contends that what should be, 
can never be deduced from what is. We recognize a restriction here, the purpose of which 
is to enable the academician to devote himself to research, without obligating himself to 
draw the consequences that are inherent in every serious scientific insight. Such 
consequences are always progressive, very often revolutionary. For us, the development 
of theoretical views is dictated by the necessities of vital life, by the need to solve 
practical problems. Our theoretical views must lead to new, better, more suitable action 
and the mastering of practical tasks. Our theory is of value only insofar as it is confirmed 
in and by practice. Everything else, we leave to the intellectual jugglers, to the guardians 
of the hierarchy of ‘values’. First of all, we have to correct the basic error of theology, 
which stagnates in academic expositions and therefore cannot show us a rational way out. 
We concur with the opinion of many researchers that all forms of religious mysticism 
mean mental darkness and narrow-mindedness. We know that over the centuries man’s 
religiousness has become an instrument of power. In this, too, we are in agreement with 

some academic researchers. We differ from them only in terms of our serious 
determination to combat mysticism and superstition successfully, and to convert our 
knowledge into hard practice. In the struggle between natural science and mysticism, we 
wonder whether natural science has exhausted all the possibilities at its disposal. We have 
to answer in the negative. Mysticism, on the other hand, keeps the masses of the people 
blindly imprisoned. Yet, before we continue, let us briefly summarize the history of this 


Four general phases can be distinguished in the development of mysticism and the 
struggle against it. The first phase is characterized by a complete lack of natural scientific 
views; animistic views rule in their place. Fearing that which appears incomprehensible, 
the primitive has a strong urge to find an explanation for natural phenomena. On the one 
hand he must give his life a sense of security, and on the other hand he seeks protection 
against the overpowering forces of nature. He acquires the one as well as the other 
(subjectively, not objectively) through mysticism, superstition and animistic views of 
natural processes, his inner and psychic processes included. He believes, for example, 
that he can increase the fertility of the soil by erecting phallic sculptures or that he can get 
rid of a period of drought by urinating. The principal features of this situation remain 
unchanged among all peoples of the earth, until at the close of the Middle Ages 
rudimentary efforts towards a scientific comprehension of nature, efforts prompted by 
several technical discoveries, assume a serious character. These efforts constitute more 
and more of a threat to mysticism. In the process of the great bourgeois revolution, an 
intense struggle breaks out against religion and for enlightenment. The period approaches 
in which science would be able to replace mysticism’s explanation of nature, and tech- 
nology would be able to assume a much more significant role in dealing with the human 
needs for protection (second phase). But now that the revolutionaries are in power, they 
are no longer revolutionary. They make an about-face and create a contradiction in the 
cultural process. On the one hand they promote scientific research with every available 
means, because it helps economic development. On the other hand, however, they 
encourage mysticism and turn it into the most powerful instrument for the purpose of 
suppressing millions of wage earners (third phase). This contradiction finds tragicomic 
expression in scientific films such as Nature and Love, in which each part carries two 
headings. The first heading reads something like this: ‘The earth was developed over 
millions of years as a result of cosmic mechanical and chemical processes.’ Below it, we 
read something like this: ‘On the first day God created Heaven and Earth.’ And highly 
respected scholars, astronomers and chemists sit in the stalls and quietly look at this 
ironic union, convinced that ‘religion too has its good side’. Could the separation 
between theory and practice be depicted more graphically! The methodical withholding 
of scientific findings from the masses of the population, and ‘monkey trials’ such as we 
find in the United States, encourage humility, lack of discrimination, voluntary re- 
nunciation and hope for happiness in the Beyond, belief in authority, recognition of the 
sacredness of asceticism and the unimpeachableness of the authoritarian family. The 

workers and the bourgeois elements that are intimately connected with them constitute 
the freethinkers’ movement, which the liberal bourgeoisie allows to go its own way as 
long as it does not transgress certain limits. Whereas the resources of the freethinkers are 
confined to intellectual arguments, the church enjoys the help of the state power- 
apparatus and plays upon the strongest emotional forces in the psychology of the masses, 
sexual anxiety and sexual repression. This great power in the emotional sphere is not 
countered by a commensurate emotional force. Insofar as the freethinkers employ sex 
policies at all, they are either intellectualized or confined to questions of population 
politics. At best they include the demand for economic equality for women. This, 
however, cannot have any mass effect on the powers of mysticism, for in most women 
the will to economic independence is unconsciously checked by the fear of sexual 
responsibility, which goes hand in hand with economic independence. 

The difficulties involved in overcoming these emotional factors force the 
revolutionary freethinkers’ movement to push the so-called philosophic questions into the 
background, for one often achieves the opposite of what one intends in this regard. Since 
mysticism cannot be countered by a commensurate emotional power, this point of view is 
certainly justified. 

The Russian Revolution raises the struggle against religion to an unprecedented high 
level (fourth phase). The power apparatus is no longer in the hands of the church and big 
business, but in the hands of the executive committees of the Soviets. The anti-religious 
movement obtains a firm foundation, the reorganization of the economy on a collective 
basis. For the first time it becomes possible to replace religion with natural science on a 
mass scale, to replace the feeling of protection offered by superstition with an ever- 
growing technology, to destroy mysticism itself with sociological elucidation of the 
functions of mysticism. Essentially, there are three ways in which the fight against 
religion takes place in the USSR: by the elimination of the economic basis, i.e., in a direct 
economic way; by anti-religious propaganda, i.e., in a direct ideological way; and by the 
raising of the cultural level of the masses, i.e., in an indirect ideological way. 

The enormous importance of the power apparatus of the church can be seen from 
some statistics, which shed light upon the conditions that existed in old Russia. In 1905 
the Russian church possessed 2,611,000 desjatines of land, i.e., about 2 million hectares. 
In 1903, 908 houses belonged to the parish churches in Moscow; 146 belonged to the 

The annual income of the metropolitans amounted to 84,000 roubles in Kiev; 259,000 
roubles in Petersburg; 81,000 roubles in Moscow; 307,000 roubles in Nishni-Novgorod. 
The earnings in kind and fees received for every individual religious performance cannot 
even be estimated. Two hundred thousand persons were in the service of the church, at 
the expense of mass taxation. The Troitskaya Lavra monastery, which is visited by an 
average of a hundred thousand pilgrims annually, possesses sacred vessels valued at 
some 650 million roubles. 

Backed by its economic power, the church was able to exercise considerable ideologic 
influence. Needless to say, all schools were denominational and subject to the control and 
domination of the priesthood. The first article of the constitution of czarist Russia stated: 
‘The sovereign of all Russians is an autocratic and absolute monarch and God Himself 
enjoins voluntary subordination to his supreme power.’ We already know what ‘God’ 

represents, and on which infantile feelings in the human structure such claims to power 
can rest. Hitler refashioned the church in Germany in precisely the same way. He 
extended its absolute power and granted it the pernicious right to make the 
schoolchildren’s emotions ripe for the reception of reactionary ideologies. The task of 
raising ‘moral standards’ holds top priority for Hitler, who executes the will of our most 
holy God. Let us return to old Russia. 

In the theological seminaries and academies there were special academic chairs for the 
fight against the revolutionary movement. On 9 January 1905, a clerical proclamation ap- 
peared in which the rebelling workers were accused of having been bribed by the 
Japanese. The A February Revolution of 1917 brought about only minor changes. All 
churches were put on an equal footing, but the long-awaited separation of church and 
state failed to materialize. The large landowner Prince Lvov became head of the church 
administration. At a church council in October of 1917 the Bolsheviks were ex- 
communicated; the patriarch Tikhon declared war on them. 

On 23 January 1918, the Soviet government issued the following decree: 

With respect to religion, the Russian Communist Party is not content to accept the 
already decreed separation of the church from the state and the school. In short, it is not 
content with measures which also appear in the programmes of bourgeois democracies, 
which have never been able to carry them through to the end anywhere in the world 
owing to the numerous factual connections between capital and religious propaganda. 

It is the conviction of the Russian Communist Party that only the realization of 
methodicalness and consciousness in the entire social and economic life of the masses 
will effect the complete withering away of religious prejudices. The Party is working 
towards a complete elimination of all the connections between the exploiting classes and 
the organization of religious propaganda. It has organized a comprehensive scientific 
propaganda of an instructive and anti-religious nature. This propaganda contributes in a 
factual way toward the liberation of the working masses from religious prejudices. 
However, every effort must be made not to offend the feelings of the faithful, for this 
would only lead to an intensification of religious fanaticism. 

It follows from this those local ordinances which would restrict the freedom of 
conscience or create privileges for members of a particular confession on the territory of 
the Republic are prohibited [paragraph 2 of the decree]. 

Every citizen can profess whichever religion be chooses or no religion whatever. All 
previous curtailments of rights in this regard are annulled. 

Any reference to a citizen’s religious denomination or absence of denomination is to 
be removed from all official documents [paragraph 3 of the decree]. 

The activities of all public and other official and social institutions will take place 
without any religious customs and ceremonies [paragraph 4], 

The free exercise of religious customs is guaranteed, provided they do not entail any 
disturbance of the public order and do not infringe upon the rights of citizens of the 
Soviet Union. In such cases where disturbances occur or rights are infringed upon, the 
local authorities are entitled to take all measures necessary to restore peace and order. 

No one has the right to evade his civic obligations on the basis of his religious views. 

Exceptions to this are allowed only on the basis of a decision of the people’s court in 
each individual case, and on condition that one civic duty is replaced by another 
[paragraph 6], 

The religious oath is abolished. If need be, a formal declaration can be made 
[paragraph 71. 

Civil status records will be kept solely by civil authorities, namely, by the registration 
office for marriages and births [paragraph 8]. 

The school is separated from the church. 

The propagation of religious confession is prohibited at all state and public as well as 
private institutions of learning which follow a curriculum of general education [paragraph 


All clerical and religious societies are subject to the general regulations which govern 
private societies and associations, and they shall not enjoy any privileges or subsidies 
from the state or an autonomous local self-administrative organ [paragraph 101 . 

The exaction of taxes from members for the benefit of clerical or religious societies is 
prohibited [paragraph ii] . 

Clerical and religious societies have no private property rights, nor do they have the 
rights of a corporate body [paragraph 121. 

All property of clerical and religious societies in Russia is declared to be the property 
of the people. 

Edifices and objects necessary for divine services are put at the disposal of the various 
religious societies free of charge on the basis of special regulations of the local and 
central authorities [paragraph 

131-Priests, monks and nuns enjoy neither an active nor a passive 

right to vote because they do not perform productive work. 

As early as 18 December 1917, the keeping of the civil status records was handed over 
to the Soviet authorities. In the Commissariat for Justice, a liquidation department was 
established, which began with the liquidation of church possessions. In the Troitski Lavra 
monastery, for example, an academy for the electro-technical division of the Red Army 
and a training school for teachers were established. Workers’ pools and communes were 
set up on the grounds of the monastery. The churches themselves were gradually 
converted into workers’ clubs and reading rooms. The anti-religious propaganda began 
with the exposure of the clerical hierarchy’s direct deception of the people. The holy 
fountain in the Sergius 

Church turned out to be a simple pump. The brow of many a saint proved to be 
nothing other than a cleverly arranged piece of leather. Permission to kiss a saint’s brow 
had to be bought. The effect of this exposure in the presence of masses of people was 
prompt and radical. It goes without saying that the godless propaganda flooded city and 
country with millions of elucidative brochures and newspapers. The establishment of 
anti-religious natural science museums made it possible to contrast the scientific and 
superstitious views of the world. 

Notwithstanding all this, I was told in Moscow in 1929 that the only organized and 
firmly rooted counter-revolutionary groups were the religious sects. The relationship of 
the religious sects to the sexual life of the sect members, as well as to the sexual structure 
of the society as a whole, was grievously neglected in the Soviet Union, both 
theoretically and practically. This neglect had serious consequences. 

Thus, the assertion that the church in Soviet Russia was ‘annihilated’ is incorrect. One 
was free to profess and practise the religion of one’s choice. It was only its social and 
economic hegemony that the church lost. It was no longer possible for it to force people 
outside its circle of adherents to believe in God. Science and atheism had finally 
succeeded in acquiring the same social rights as mysticism. No clerical hierarchy could 
any longer decide that a natural scientist should be exiled. That is all. But the church was 
not satisfied. Later, when the sexual revolution disintegrated (from 1934 on), it won 
masses of people back into its fold. 


The undermining of the church’s power over and above its immediate sphere of 
influence only meant that the church’s worst encroachments were done away with. This 
measure has no affected whatever on its ideological power, which rests upon the 
sympathetic feelings and superstitious structure of the average individual in the masses. 
For this reason the Soviets began to exercise scientific influence. However, natural scien- 
tific enlightenment and the unmasking of religion merely place an intellectual, though 
very powerful, force alongside religious feelings and leave the rest to the struggle 
between man’s intellect and mystical sentiments. This struggle succeeds in favour of 
science only in men and women who have already begun to mature on a different basis. 
That it can fail even in such persons is shown by the not infrequent cases in which clear- 
cut materialists yield to their religious sentiments in this or that form, i.e., are compelled 
to pray. From this a clever advocate of religion will seek to win an argument in his 
favour; he will assert that this is proof of the everlastingness and ineradicableness of 
religious feeling. He is nonetheless in the wrong, for this only proves that, while the 
power of the intellect is pitted against religious feelings, the source of religious feelings is 
not touched. One could rightfully conclude that the foundation of mystical sentiments 
would be completely undermined if the social hegemony of the church were not only 
eliminated and an intellectual force were pitted against them but over and above this the 
feelings that nourish mystical sentiments were made conscious and given free rein. 
Clinical experience shows incontestably that religious sentiments result from inhibited 
sexuality that the source of mystical excitation is to be sought in inhibited sexual 
excitation. The inescapable conclusion of all this is that a clear sexual consciousness and 
a natural regulation of sexual life must foredoom every form of mysticism; that, in other 
words, natural sexuality is the arch enemy of mystical religion. By carrying on an anti- 
sexual fight wherever it can, making it the core of its dogmas and putting it in the 
foreground of its mass propaganda, the church only attests to the correctness of this 

To begin with, I am only attempting to reduce very complicated facts to their simplest 
formula when I say that sexual consciousness is the end of mysticism. We will soon see 
that, as simple as this formula is, its actual basis and the conditions for its practical 

implementation are extremely complicated, and that we shall need the entire scientific 
apparatus at our disposal and the deepest conviction of the necessity of carrying out an 
inexorable fight against mysticism, if we are to counter successfully the cunning 
apparatus of superstition. But the final result will one day repay all our efforts. 

To form an accurate estimation of the difficulties to be encountered in the practical 
implementation of this simple formula, a number of fundamental facts in the psychic 
structure of people who have been subjected to a sexually repressive upbringing have to 
be thoroughly comprehended. When a number of cultural organizations in the western 
part of Germany, which is predominantly Catholic, rejected the sex-economic fight 
against mystical contagion because they had allegedly not had any success with it, this 
did not invalidate my contention, but only testified to the timidity, fear of sexuality, and 
sex-economic inexperience of those who undertook the fight. More than anything else it 
testified to a lack of patience and willingness to adapt to the complicated state of affairs, 
to understand and master it. If I were to tell a Christian woman who is sexually frustrated 
that her suffering is of a sexual nature and that only through sexual happiness can her 
psychic suffering be relieved, she would be right in throwing me out. We are faced with 
two difficulties: (i) Every individual bears contradictions in himself, which have to be 
individually understood; and (2) the practical aspects of the problem differ from locality 
to locality and country to country and therefore have to be solved in a different way. But 
surely, the more extensive our sex-economic experience becomes, the more easily we 
will be able to deal with the obstacles. However, it is solely through practice that these 
difficulties can be eliminated. Before any headway can be made, we must agree on the 
correctness of our basic formula, and we must comprehend the true nature of the 
difficulties. In view of the fact that mysticism has ruled humanity for thousands of years, 
the least it can ask of novices like us is that we do not underestimate it and that we grasp 
it correctly. It will be up to us to prove ourselves wiser, more subtle, and more 
knowledgeable than its advocates. 


Guidelines for mass mental hygiene can be obtained from the comprehension of the 
bio-psychic anchoring of mysticism. The changes that take place in the mystical man in 
the course of character-analytic treatment are of decisive importance. The insights we 
gain from character-analytic treatment cannot be applied directly to the masses, but they 
reveal the contradictions, forces, and counterforce in the average individual. I have 
already described how mystical ideas and feelings become anchored in the human 
structure. Let us now attempt to trace the principal features in the process of the 
uprooting of mysticism. 

As might be expected, the mystical attitude operates as a powerful resistance to the 
uncovering of unconscious psychic life, especially to repressed genitality. It is significant 
that mysticism tends to ward off natural genital impulses, especially childhood 
masturbation, more so than it tends to ward off pregenital infantile impulses. The patient 
clings to his ascetic, moralistic and mystical views and sharpens the philosophically 
unbridgeable antithesis between ‘the moral element’ and ‘the animal element’ in man, 
i.e., natural sexuality. He defends himself against his genital sexuality with the help of 

moralistic deprecation. He accuses those around him of not having an understanding for’ 
spiritual values’ and of being’ crude, vulgar and materialistic’. In short, to one who 
knows the argumentation of the mystics and fascists in political discussions, and of the 
characterologists and ‘scholars’ in natural scientific discussions, all this sounds all too 
familiar. It is one and the same thing. Characteristically, the fear of God and the 
moralistic defence are immediately strengthened when one succeeds in loosening an 
element of sexual repression. If one succeeds in getting rid of the childhood fear of 
masturbation and as a result thereof genitality demands gratification, then intellectual 
insight and sexual gratification are wont to prevail. To the same extent to which the fear 
of sexuality or the fear of the old parental sexual prohibition disappears, mystical 
sentiments also vanish. What has taken place? Prior to this the patient had made use of 
mysticism to hold his sexual desires in suppression. His ego was too deeply steeped in 
fear, his own sexuality too deeply estranged, to enable him to master and to regulate the 
powerful natural forces. On the contrary, the more he resisted his sexuality, the more 
imperative his desires became. Hence, his moralistic and mystical inhibitions had to be 
applied more rigidly. In the course of treatment the ego was strengthened and the 
infantile dependencies on parents and teachers were loosened. The patient recognized the 
naturalness of genitality and learned to distinguish between what was infantile and no 
longer usable in the instincts and what was suited to the demands of life. The Christian 
youth will soon realize that his intensive exhibitionistic and perverse inclinations refer 
partly to a regression to early infantile forms of sexuality and partly to an inhibition of 
genital sexuality. He will also realize that his desires for union with a woman are wholly 
in keeping with his age and his nature, that indeed it is necessary to gratify them. From 
now on he no longer has need of the support offered by the belief in an all-powerful God, 
nor does he have need of moralistic inhibition. He becomes master of his own house and 
learns to regulate his own sexual economy. Character-analysis liberates the patient from 
the infantile and slavish dependency upon the authority of the father and father 
surrogates. The strengthening of the ego dissolves the infantile attachment to God, which 
is a continuation of the infantile attachment to the father. These attachments lose their 
force. If vegetotherapy subsequently enables the patient to take up a satisfying love life, 
then mysticism loses its last hold. The case of clerics is especially difficult, for a 
convincing continuation of their profession, whose physical consequences they have felt 
on their own body, has become impossible. The only course open to many of them is to 
replace their priesthood with religious research or teaching. 

It is only the analyst who does not understand the genital disturbance of his patients 
who will not be able to confirm these processes in the mystical man. Nor, however, will 
they be confirmed by the well-known psychoanalyst and pastor who is of the opinion that 
one ‘may sink the plummet of psychoanalysis into the unconscious only so far as ethics 
permit’. We want to have as little to do with such’ nonpolitical’,’ objective’ science as 
with that science that not only goes all out in its fight against the revolutionary 
consequences of sex-economy as ‘polities’, but even advises mothers to fight the 
erections of small boys by teaching them exercises in holding their breath. In such cases 
the problem lies in the process that allows the physician’ s conscience to accept this line 
of reasoning and to become a pastor, without however rehabilitating him in the eyes of 
political reaction. He acts very much as the German SPD members of parliament who 

sang the German national anthem at the last sitting of parliament enthusiastically and 
pleadingly, and still ended up in concentration camps as ‘Socialists’. 

We do not discuss the existence or non-existence of God -we merely eliminate the 
sexual repressions and dissolve the infantile ties to the parents. The destruction of 
mysticism is not at all a part of the therapeutic intention. It is merely treated as every 
other psychic fact that functions as a support of sexual repression and saps one’s natural 
energies. Thus, the sex-economic process does not consist of a contrasting of the mystical 
view of life with the ‘materialistic’, ‘anti-religious’ view. This is intentionally avoided; 
for it would not affect any change whatever in the biopathic structure. The process con- 
sists rather in the unmasking of the mystical attitude as an anti-sexual force; the energy 
that nourishes it is utilized for other purposes. The man whose ideology is moralistic to 
an exaggerated degree, while perverse, lascivious and neurotic in reality, is freed of this 
contradiction. Along with his moral-ism, he also loses the anti-social character and 
immorality of his sexuality in the sex-economic sense of the words. Inadequate 
moralistic and mystical inhibition is replaced by sex-economic regulation of sexual 

From its point of view, therefore, mysticism is right when, to preserve and reproduce 
itself in man, it takes such a strong stand against sexuality. It merely errs in one of its 
premises and in its most important justification: It is its ‘morality’ that produces that 
sensuality, the moral mastery of which it feels itself called upon to accomplish. It is the 
abolition of this ‘morality’ that is the pre-condition of the abolition of immorality, which 
it seeks to eliminate in vain. This is the harsh tragedy of every form of morality and 
mysticism. The uncovering of the sex-economic processes, which nourish religious 
mysticism, will lead sooner or later to its practical elimination, no matter how often the 
mystics run for tar and feathers. 

Sexual consciousness and mystical sentiments cannot coexist. Natural sexuality and 
mystical sentiments are the same in terms of their energy, so long as the former is 
repressed and can be easily transformed into mystical excitation. 

These sex-economic facts necessarily yield a number of consequences for mass mental 
hygiene. These we will set forth after we have answered some obvious objections. 


In sex-economic practice one is used to seeing the political economist appear as the 
opponent of the so-called ‘overemphasis and exaggeration of the sexual question’. At the 
slightest difficulty, which is to be expected in this new area, he immediately tries to 
dismiss the whole field. To begin with, these opponents of sex-economy must be told that 
their jealousy is unfounded. Sex-economic cultural work does not constitute an 
encroachment upon their own domain of economy or a restriction of their sphere of work. 
It aims at a comprehension of an extremely important area of the cultural process, an area 
that has been totally neglected until now. The sex-economic fight is a part of the total 
fight of those who are exploited and suppressed against those who exploit and suppress. 
At present, to decide just how important this fight is and what place it assumes within the 
workers’ movement would be to engage in scholastic hair-splitting. In discussing the role 
and importance of sex-economy, instead of basing one’s appraisal on what has been 

accomplished in a practical way, one has been inclined to set up a rivalry between 
economic and sexual policies. We must not waste any time with such discussions. If all 
the experts of the various branches of knowledge would do their utmost to subdue 
dictatorial forms, if each of them would completely master his own field, then all 
discussions about rank and role would be superfluous. The social importance of the 
individual branches would follow of itself. It is merely important to stick to the basic 
conception, namely that the economic form also determines the sexual form and that the 
sexual form cannot be changed unless the economic and social forms are changed. 

There are many slogans that stick fast like ice; they can be removed only by the use of 
radical means. One often meets with the dull objection that sex-economy is 
‘individualistic’ and therefore of no use socially. To be sure, the method that is used to 
obtain knowledge about sex-economy is ‘individualistic’. But doesn’t social suppression 
of sexuality concern all the members of our society? Isn ’t sexual distress a collective 
thing? Is the social fight against tuberculosis individualistic because the study of 
tuberculosis is carried out on individual patients? The revolutionary movement has 
always committed the grave error of regarding sexuality as a ‘private matter’. It is not a 
private matter for political reaction, which always rides on two tracks at the same time: 
on that of economic policies and that of’ moral renewal’. Until now, the freedom 
movement has travelled on one track only. What is needed, therefore, is to master the 
sexual question on a social scale, to transform the shadowy side of personal life into 
social mental hygiene, to make the sexual question a part of the total campaign, instead of 
confining oneself to the question of population politics. The freedom movement has 
always made the mistake of mechanically transferring the political slogans from the area 
of trade-unionism and political struggle to all the other areas of social life, instead of 
developing a view for each area of human life and activity appropriate to that area and 
that area alone. Among her things it was this mistake that contributed to its defeat. Thus 
in 1932 leading functionaries of the German sex-political organization wanted to exclude 
the sexual question 4md ‘to mobilize’ the masses in the sexual area with the slogan 
‘against hunger and cold’. They contrasted the sexual question with the ‘social question’, 
as if the sexual question were not a part of the whole complex of social questions! 

The population politics to which sexual reform restricts itself do not in the strict sense 
of the word have a sex-political nature. They are not concerned with the regulation of 
sexual needs, but only with the increase of the population, to which naturally the sexual 
act is related. Apart from this, however, it has nothing to do with sexuality in the social 
and biologic sense. Nor do the masses have the slightest interest in questions of 
population politics; they don’t care a hoot about them. The abortion law is of interest to 
them, not for political reasons, but because of the personal distress that hinges upon it. 
Insofar as the abortion law causes distress, death and grief, it is a question of general 
social politics. Not until, and only when, it is clearly and explicitly understood that 
people violate the law because they have to have intercourse even if they don’t want to 
have children will the question of abortion become a sex-political question. This has 
passed unnoticed until now, despite the fact that it is emotionally the most important 
point of the question. If a reactionary social politician should take it upon himself to tell 
the people: ‘You complain that the abortion law demands so many sacrifices in health 
and human life! You don’t have to have sexual intercourse’, then there would be an end 
to the approach that is concerned solely with population politics. The question is 

meaningful only when one clearly and openly speaks up for the necessity of a satisfactory 
sex life. To give prominence to the sexual needs that continually beset the men and 
women of all social classes would have far more relevance than to enumerate the deaths 
caused by the abortion law. Everyone has a personal interest in sexual needs, but an 
interest in the abortion law presupposes a certain level of social conscience and fellow- 
feeling, which cannot always be assumed in modern man. In propaganda about the 
provision of food, it is personal need and not unrelated social and political facts that are 
appealed to. The same should hold true for propaganda in the sex-economic field. In 
short, the sexual question is a question that applies to all of us, a top-priority question of 
social life and mass mental hygiene. 

The objection that could be raised by a psychoanalyst is more serious. His objection 
might run something like this: It is altogether Utopian to suppose that man’s sexual 
misery could be used ‘politically’ in the same way that his material distress is used. In 
psychoanalytic treatment it takes months and years of arduous work to make a patient 
conscious of his sexual desires. The moralistic inhibitions are just as deeply anchored as 
the sexual demands, and they have the upper hand. How do you propose to overcome 
sexual repression in the masses in view of the fact that a technique comparable to the one 
used in individual analysis does not exist? This objection has to be taken seriously. In the 
beginning, if I had allowed such objections to deter me from engaging in practical sex- 
economic work among the masses and gathering experience, then I too would have to 
agree with those who push aside sex-economy as an individualistic question and wait for 
the coming of a second Jesus to solve it. A very close associate once told me that my 
attempts constituted only a superficial elucidation, which failed to grasp the deeply- 
rooted sex -repressive forces. If a psychiatrist could make such an accusation, it might 
prove of value to discuss the difficulty in more detail. In the beginning of my work, I 
would not have known an answer to this question. However, practical experience 
revealed it. 

To begin with, we have to make it clear that in sex-economic mass hygiene, we are 
faced with a task different from the one we are faced with in individual vegetotherapeutic 
treatment. In the latter we have to eliminate repression and to restore biologic health. This 
is not the task of sex-economic sociology; here it is a matter of making conscious the 
contradiction and suffering in subjugated man. One knows that one is moralistic; but that 
one has a sexual drive that has to be gratified is either not conscious or one’s 
consciousness of it is so weak that it cannot operate properly. Here the additional 
objection could be raised that the making conscious of sexual needs also entails 
individual analytic work. Again practical experience gives the answer. When I talk to a 
sexually inhibited woman in my office about her sexual needs, I am confronted with her 
entire moralistic apparatus. It is difficult for me to get through to her and to convince her 
of anything. If, however, the same woman is exposed to a mass atmosphere, is present, 
for instance, at a rally at which sexual needs are discussed clearly and openly in medical 
and social terms, then she doesn’t feel herself to be alone. After all, the others are also 
listening to ‘forbidden things’. Her individual moralistic inhibition is offset by a 
collective atmosphere of sexual affirmation, a new sex-economic morality, which can 
paralyse (not eliminate!) her sexual negation because she herself has had similar thoughts 
when she was alone. Secretly, she herself has mourned her lost joy of life or yearned for 
sexual happiness. The sexual need is given confidence by the mass situation; it assumes a 

socially accepted status. When the subject is broached correctly, the sexual demand 
proves to have far more appeal than the demand for asceticism and renunciation; it is 
more human, more closely related to the personality, unreservedly affirmed by everyone. 
Thus, it is not a question of helping, but of making suppression conscious, of dragging 
the fight between sexuality and mysticism into the light of consciousness, of bringing it to 
a head under the pressure of a mass ideology and translating it into social action. At this 
point the objection might be raised that this would be a diabolical attempt, for it would 
precipitate people into a state of dire distress, would really make them sick if they were 
not already sick, without being able to help them. One is reminded of Pallenberg’s witty 
saying in Der brave Sunder: ‘What a poor wretch man is. Fortunately he doesn’t know it. 
If he did what a poor wretch he’d be!’ The answer is that political reaction and mysticism 
are infinitely more diabolical. Basically speaking, of course, the same objection applies to 
the distress of hunger. The Indian or Chinese coolie who bears the burden of his fate 
unconsciously, resigned and unquestioning, suffers less than the coolie who is aware of 
the hideous order of things, who, in short, consciously rebels against slavery. Who would 
try to make us believe that the real cause of his suffering should be concealed from the 
coolie for humanitarian reasons? Only a mystic, the coolie’s fascist employer or some 
Chinese professor for social hygiene would try to make us believe such nonsense. This 
‘humanity’ is the perpetuation of inhumanity and its simultaneous concealment. Our 
‘inhumanity’ is the fight for that about which the good and the righteous prattle so much, 
and then allow themselves to be immediately snared in the trap of fascist reaction. Hence, 
we admit: Consistent sex-economic work gives a tongue to silent suffering and creates 
new contradictions while intensifying the contradictions that exist already. It puts man in 
a position where he is no longer able to tolerate his situation. At the same time, however, 
it provides a means of liberation, namely the possibility of a fight against the social 
causes of suffering. It is true that sex-economic work touches the most sensitive, most 
exciting, most personal area of human life. But isn’t it also true that the mystical 
contagion of the masses does the same thing? What is important is the purpose that is 
served by the one and the purpose that is served by the other. He who has once seen the 
intense eyes and faces at sex-economic assemblies; he who has heard and has had to 
answer the hundreds of questions relating to the most personal sphere of human existence 
- that man has also arrived at the unshakable conviction that social dynamite lies buried 
here, dynamite capable of bringing this self-destructive world to its senses. However, if 
this work is to be carried out by revolutionaries who vie with the church in the 
asseveration and advocacy of moralistic mysticism, who view the answering of the sexual 
question as being beneath the ‘dignity of revolutionary ideology’, who dismiss childhood 
masturbation as a ‘bourgeois invention’, who, in short - for all their ‘Leninism’ and 
‘Marxism’ - are reactionary in an important corner of their personalities, then it would be 
easy to offer proof that my experiences cannot be right. For in the hands of such 
revolutionaries, the masses would immediately react negatively towards sex. 

We must still persist for a while in our discussion of the role of moralistic resistance 
which we encounter in our work. I stated that the individual moralistic inhibition, which, 
in contrast to sexual demands, is reinforced by the entire sex-negating atmosphere of 
authoritarian society, can be made ineffective by the creation of a counter sex-affirmative 
ideology. People could become receptive to sex-economic knowledge and thereby be 
made immune to the influence of mysticism and reactionary forces. It is clear that such an 

atmosphere of sexual affirmation can be created only by a powerful international sex- 
economic organization. It was impossible to convince the leaders of political parties that 
this was one of their main tasks. In the meantime, politics as such has been exposed as 
reactionary irrationalism. We can no longer rely on any political party. The task lies 
within the framework of natural work-democratic development. 

Until now we have mentioned only the quiet and mute needs of the individuals in the 
masses, those needs upon which we could base our work. However, they would not be 
enough. From the turn of the century until the First World War these needs and their 
suppression were also present, yet at that time a sex-economic movement would have had 
little prospect of success. Since then a number of objective social preconditions for sex- 
economic work have come into being. These must be thoroughly known if one wants to 
set to work correctly. The very fact that so many sex-economic groups having various 
forms and directions came into being in Germany between 1931-3 indicates that a new 
social view is taking hold in the social process. One of the most important social 
preconditions of social sex-economy was the creation of gigantic industries employing 
armies of workers and officials. The two central pillars of the moralistic and anti-sexual 
atmosphere, the small enterprise and the family, were shaken. The Second World War 
accelerated this process appreciably. The women and girls working in factories developed 
freer conceptions of sexual life than they would have developed if they had remained 
confined to the authoritarian households of their parents. Since the industrial workers 
were accessible to sexual affirmation at all times, the disintegration process of authori- 
tarian moralism began to spread among the lower middle classes also. If the lower 
middle-class youth of today is compared with the lower middle-class youth of 1910, it 
will be readily seen that the gap between real sexuality and the social ideology still 
prevailing has become wide and unbridgeable. The ideal of an ascetic girl has become a 
thing of shame, and certainly the same holds true for the ideal of the sexually weak, 
ascetic man. Even among the lower middle class, more open attitudes towards 
compulsive faithfulness in marriage have begun to appear more and more frequently. The 
mode of production of big industry made it possible for the contradiction of reactionary 
sexual policies to come out into the open. There can no longer be any talk of a return to 
the old consonance between real life and ascetic ideology, as was still pretty much the 
case before the turn of the century. As a sex-economist, one gains deep insights into the 
secrets of human existence and can ascertain a total disintegration of the moralistic 
ascetic modes of life, which are still so loudly advocated. The collectivization of 
adolescent life has not only undermined - even if it has not eliminated - the restrictive 
power of the authoritarian household but has also awakened a desire in modern youth, a 
desire for a new philosophy and for scientific knowledge about the fight for sexual 
health, sexual consciousness and freedom. Around the turn of the century it would have 
been out of the question for a Christian woman to belong to a birth-control group. Today 
it is more and more the rule. This process was not interrupted by the fascist seizure of 
power in Germany, but merely forced to go underground. What remains questionable is 
how the process will continue to take shape, if fascist murder and barbarism last longer 
than we fear. An additional objective factor, which is closely related to the above, is the 
rapid increase of neurotic and biopathic illnesses as an expression of disturbed sexual 
economy, and the intensification of the contradiction between real sexual demands on the 
one hand and old moralistic inhibitions and child education on the other hand. The 

increase of biopathies means that one is more prepared to acknowledge the sexual cause 
of so many sicknesses. 

Political reaction’s powerlessness in the face of practical sex-economic work is the 
strongest point in sex-economy’s favour. It is well known that, owing to the lack of 
scientific literature on sex, it is mostly sexual tripe that is read in the public libraries. If 
sex-economic work could succeed in directing this enormous interest into scientific and 
rational channels, this would provide a measure of the importance of the sex-economic 
question. The fascists are able to deceive the submissive and mystically contaminated 
masses for a long time by pretending to represent the rights of work and the worker. It is 
different in the sex-economic sphere. Political reaction could never succeed in opposing 
revolutionary sex-economy with a reactionary sex-political programme that would be 
anything other than complete suppression and negation of sexuality. Such a programme 
would immediately alienate the masses, with the exception of a politically unimportant 
circle of old women and hopelessly dense creatures. It is the youth that matters! And they 
- this much is certain are no longer accessible to a sex-negating ideology on a mass scale. 
This is our strong point. In 1932 sex-economic groups in Germany succeeded in winning 
over industries that were and had been completely closed to the subject of ‘Red trade- 
unionism’. It is clear that, when all is said and done, sex-economic mental hygiene must 
join forces with the general social freedom movement. And in actual practice this is 
precisely what it did. However, we have to have a clear eye for facts such as this: Fascist 
workers and employees, indeed students, are in complete accord with the revolutionary 
affirmation of sexuality, an affirmation that brings them into conflict with their 
leadership. And what could this leadership do if one could succeed in resolving this 
conflict altogether? It would be forced to use terror. But to the same extent to which it 
used terror, it would lose its influence. Let me stress once more that the objective 
loosening of the reactionary shackles placed on sexuality cannot under any circumstances 
be retightened. This is our greatest strength. If revolutionary work fails to make headway 
in this area, the result will be that the youth will continue as before to live a restricted life 
in secret, without being conscious of the causes and consequences of such a life. 
However, if sex-economic work is carried out consistently, political reaction would have 
no answer and no counter-ideology. Its ascetic teachings are tenable only as long as 
sexual affirmation in the masses is secret and fragmentary, only as long as it is not 
collectively organized and directed against political reaction’s asceticism. 

German fascism made an all-out effort to anchor itself in the psychic structures of the 
masses and therefore placed the greatest emphasis upon the inculcation of the adolescents 
and children. It had no other means at its disposal than the rousing and cultivation of 
slavery to authority, the basic precondition of which is ascetic, sex-negating education. 
The natural sexual strivings towards the other sex, which seek gratification from 
childhood on, were replaced in the main by distorted and diverted homosexual and 
sadistic feelings, and in part also by asceticism. This applies, for instance, to the so-called 
esprit de corps that was cultivated in the Labour Conscription Camps as well as to the so- 
called ‘spirit of discipline and obedience’, which was preached everywhere. The hidden 
motive behind these slogans was to unleash brutality and make it ready for use in 
imperialistic wars. Sadism originates from ungratified orgastic yearnings. The facade is 
inscribed with such names as ‘comradeship’, ‘honour’, ‘voluntary discipline’. Concealed 
behind the facade, we find secret revolt, depression to the point of rebellion, owing to the 

hindrance of every expression of personal life, especially of sexuality. A consistent sex- 
economy must cast a dazzling light on the great sexual privation. If it does, it will be able 
to reckon with the most lively echo on the part of youth. At first this will produce 
bewilderment and perplexity among the fascist leaders. It is not difficult to see that the 
average boy or girl can easily be made conscious of his or her sexual privation. Contrary 
to the assertions of such youth leaders who have never attempted it practically, the 
experience gained from working with young people shows that the average adolescent, 
especially the adolescent female, takes to his or her social responsibility much more 
quickly, more effectively and more willingly, when it is made intelligible by means of 
bringing sexual suppression into consciousness. It is merely a question of correctly 
comprehending the sexual question and of showing its application to the general social 
situation. There are a thousand proofs in support of the above statement. One should not 
allow oneself to be scared off by threadbare objections, but ought to be guided solely by 
sex-economic practice. 

What answers would political reaction have to some questions posed by German 

The conscription of German boys and girls in labour camps has seriously impinged 
upon their private and sexual life. Urgent questions await an explanation and solution, for 
serious and menacing abuses has resulted. The situation is complicated by the general 
shyness and timidity of the adolescents to open a discussion on their personal, burning 
questions, added to which is the fact that the camp authorities forbid all talk on such 
questions. But it is a matter of the physical and psychic health of boys and girls!!! 

What is the sexual life of the boys and girls in the Conscription Labour Camps? 

On the average, the boys and girls in Conscription Labour Camps are at the age of 
budding sexuality. Most of the boys were previously in the habit of gratifying their 
natural sexual needs with their girlfriends. To be sure, the sexual life of these boys and 
girls was hindered even before they entered the labour camps by the absence o suitable 
possibilities of engaging in a healthy love life (housing problem of the youth), by a lack 
of money to buy contraceptives, by the hostility of the state authorities and reactionary 
circles to a healthy adolescent love life, one in accordance with their needs. This 
lamentable situation was made even worse by the Labour Conscription! For instance: 

No possibility of coming together with girls or of preserving and cultivating former 

Being forced to choose between abstinence and self-gratification. 

This leads to the brutalization and dissipation of erotic life, the proliferation of sexual 
obscenity and dirty jokes, disintegrating, fantasies (rape, lascivious greed, beatings), 
which also paralyse one’s will and energy. 

Nocturnal involuntary emissions, which undermine one’s health and offer no 

Development of homosexual tendencies and the forming of relationships between 
boys who had never thought of such things; severe annoyances from homosexual 

Increase of nervousness, irritability, physical complaints, and various psychic 
disturbances. Ominous consequences for the future. 

All adolescents, especially those between 17 and 25, who do not have a gratifying 
sexual life are threatened with a future disturbance of their potency and severe psychic 
depression, which always entails a disturbance of one’s work capacity. If an organ or a 
natural function is not used over a period, it later fails to operate. Nervous and psychic 
illnesses, perversions (sexual aberrations) are usually the result. 

What is our position with regard to the measures and regulations adopted by our 
leaders on these questions? 

Until now, the leaders have called for a ‘moral strengthening of the youth’ in very 
general statements. To us it is still not clear what is meant by this. Over the past years the 
German youth have engaged in a hard struggle with their parental homes and the big 
wheels of the system and were gradually beginning to win their right to a healthy sexual 
life, despite the fact that they were not able to reach their goal under the existing social 
conditions. But their idea was clear in broad circles: The youth had to carry on a bitter 
fight against sexual bigotry, sexual obscenity and hypocrisy, the consequences of the 
youth’s sexual subjugation. It was their idea that boys and girls should have a happy 
intellectual and sexual relationship with one another. Their idea was that it was society’s 
responsibility to regulate and alleviate the conditions of their lives. What is the 
government’s position towards this? , The ordinances it has issued so far are in sharp 
contradiction to the views of youth. The purchase of contraceptives has been made 
impossible by prohibiting their public sale. The measures employed by the Hamburg 
police against the aquatic athletes on moral grounds, the threat that those who ‘offend 
customs and decency’ will be put into concentration camps, are backed up by the law. Is 
it an offence to decency if a boy sleeps with his girlfriend in a tent camp? 

We ask the leadership of the German youth: What is to be the sexual life of the youth? 

There are only four possibilities. 

1. Abstinence: Shall the youth live an abstinent life, i.e., contain every form of sexual 
activity until marriage? 

2. Self-gratification: Shall the youth gratify its sexual needs by masturbation? 

3. Homosexual gratification: Shall the German youth engage in sexual activity with 
members of the same sex? If so, how? By mutual masturbation or anal intercourse? 

4. Natural love and sexual intercourse between boys and girls: Shall the German 
youth affirm and encourage natural sexuality? ”If so: 

Where is intercourse to take place (housing problem)? 

How and with what is conception to be prevented? 

When is this intercourse to take place? 

Is the adolescent allowed to do the same thing as the fuehrer? 

Similar questions concern work with children. It may sound strange - to some 
incomprehensible - but the fact remains: In the main, revolutionary work with children 
can only be sex-economic work. Overcome your astonishment and listen patiently. Why 

is it that children in the pre-pubertal stage can be directed by sexual education in the best 
and easiest way? 

1. Childhood in all social classes, even in those in which hunger and privations are 
suffered, is filled with sexual interests, more so than later stages of life. In addition, we 
have to bear in mind that hunger to the point of physical deterioration concerns only a 
number of children, whereas sexual suppression concerns every child of every class 
without exception. This extends the social field of attack enormously. 

2. The usual methods employed by the freedom movement to organize children are the 
same as those employed by the reactionaries in their work with children: marching, 
singing> dressing up, group games, etc. Unless he stems from exceptionally liberated 
parents - which of course is not very often the case — the child does not distinguish 
between the content of reactionary and revolutionary forms of propaganda. To see to it 
that reality is not glossed over is only the first commandment of anti-fascist education. It 
is our contention that children and adolescents will march just as happily to fascist music 
tomorrow as they march to liberal music today. Moreover, political reaction can mould 
the forms of group propaganda among children incomparably better than the anti-fascist 
movement. In this regard the latter was always behind. In Germany, for instance, the 
socialist movement, in contrast to the reactionary movement, was extremely weak in its 
work with children. 

5. While it is true that political reaction is far superior in its organizational work with 
children, there is one thing that it cannot do: It cannot impart sexual knowledge to 
children; it cannot give them sexual clarity, nor can it dispel their sexual confusion. Only 
the revolutionary movement can do this. First of all because it has no interest in the 
sexual suppression of children. (On the contrary, it is precisely the sexual freedom of 
children that it has in mind.) Second of all because the revolutionary camp has always 
been the advocate of a consistent and natural education of children. This powerful 
weapon was never put to use in Germany. And it was those in charge of child 
organizations who offered the strongest resistance to the proposal that the usual 
individual treatment of sex education be turned into sex education on a mass scale. It was 
both tragic and comical that these opponents of sex-economic work among children 
called upon Marx and Lenin in their defence. Naturally, neither in Marx’s nor in Lenin’s 
writings do we find anything about sex-economy. And yet the fact remained that children 
fell to political reaction’s share en masse. Notwithstanding the enormous difficulties 
involved, unexpected possibilities arise of developing child education on a sex- 
economic basis. The most important of these possibilities is the ardent interest of the 
children themselves. If we could once succeed in engaging the sexual interests of children 
and adolescents on a mass scale, then reactionary contamination would be faced with a 
tremendous counterforce - and political reaction would be powerless. 

To those who doubt, resist and are otherwise worried about the ‘purity’ of the 
children, we will cite only two examples from our practical experience. They are typical 
of many others. 

First: The church is not so squeamish. A fifteen-year-old boy who transferred to a 
communist youth group from a fascist organization told us that in his former organization 
the priest was in the habit of calling the boys aside one by one and asking them about 
their sexual behaviour. They were always asked whether they had masturbated, which 

was naturally always the case and shamefully admitted. ‘That is a great sin, my boy; but 
you can atone for it if you work diligently for the church and distribute these leaflets 
tomorrow.’ That’s how mysticism practises politics with sex. We, however, are ‘modest’; 
we are ‘pure’; we want nothing to do ‘with such things’. And then we are surprised that 
mysticism is in control of the majority of the adolescents. 

Second: The sex-economic work-group in Berlin had resolved to make its first attempt 
at sex-economic education of children, and had collectively put together a story for this 
purpose: The Chalk Triangle , Group for the Study of Adult Secrets. Before having it 
printed, this little story was first discussed with leaders of child groups. It was resolved to 
read the booklet to a group of children and to see how they reacted to it. One wished that 
all those who shrugged their shoulders derogatively at the mention of social sex-economy 
would have been present. To begin with, seventy children were present, instead of the 
usual twenty or so. Contrary to the usual indifferent attentiveness following the reports of 
the functionaries - it was always difficult to establish quiet - the children hung on the 
speaker’s words, their eyes glowed, their faces formed one single bright spot in the 
auditorium. At some points, the reading was interrupted by bursts of enthusiasm. At the 
end the children were asked to express their opinions and criticism. Many raised their 
hand for permission to speak. One had to blush at one’s own prudery and embarrassment 
in front of these children. The teachers who had edited this story had decided not to 
include the question of contraception and also to omit the subject of childhood 
masturbation. Promptly the question was asked: ‘Why don’t you say anything about how 
not to get children?’ ‘We know that anyhow,’ a boy interjected laughing. ‘What’s that, a 
tart?’ a third boy asked, ‘there was nothing said about that in the story.’ ‘Tomorrow we’ll 
go to the Christians,’ they stated enthusiastically. ‘They always talk about such things - 
we’ll get them I’ ‘When is the book coming out? How much will it cost? Will it be cheap 
enough for us to buy it and also to sell it?’ The first part that had been read dealt almost 
exclusively with sex education. It was the group’s intention, however, to supplement the 
first volume with a second volume, which was supposed to show the social implications 
of these questions. The children were told this.’ When is the second volume coming out? 
Will it also be so funny?’ When has a group of children ever asked for a social booklet so 
enthusiastically? Shouldn’t this be a lesson to us? Yes, it should. By affirming their 
sexual interests and gratifying their thirst for knowledge , children must be educated to - 
take an interest in social matters. They have to become firmly convinced that this is 
something political reaction cannot give them. And they will be won over in large 
numbers, be immunized against reactionary influence in all countries and - what is most 
important -they will be firmly bound to the revolutionary freedom movement. At present, 
however, it is not only political reaction that obstructs the realization of this goal, but also 
the ‘moralists’ in the camp of the freedom movement. 

An additional important area of sex-economic work is the elucidation of the sexual 
situation that recently resulted in Germany from the fact that women were pushed from 
industry back into the kitchen. This work can be accomplished only by imbuing the 
concept of woman’s freedom with the contents of sexual freedom. It must be pointed out 
that it is not her material dependency on the man in the family that is a nuisance to a 
woman. Essentially, it is the sexual restriction that goes with this dependency that is a 
burden. The proof of this is that those women who have succeeded in completely 
suppressing their sexuality not only endure this economic dependency easily and 

unresistingly, but even affirm it. To make these women conscious of their suppressed 
sexuality and to stress the unpleasant consequences of an ascetic life are the most 
important preconditions for the political fertilization of the material dependency on man. 
If sex-economic organizations fail to accomplish this work, then the new wave of sexual 
suppression of women in fascism will immure the consciousness of her material 
enslavement. In Germany and other highly industrialized countries, all the objective 
social preconditions are present for a forceful rebellion of the women and the adolescents 
against sexual reaction. If inexorable, consistent, unflinching sexual policies were applied 
to this area, we would be rid once and for all of a question that has occupied freethinkers 
and politicians time and again, without yielding an answer: Why is it that women and 
adolescents are always far more willing to listen to political reaction? No other field 
exposes so clearly the social function of sexual suppression, the intimate connection 
between sexual repression and political reactionary views. 

In conclusion, let me mention one further objection made by a psychiatrist after 
reading this section. It is not easily countered. There is no doubt, he said, that the broad 
masses have the keenest interest in the sexual question. They are well-nigh obsessed with 
it, but does this necessarily lead to the conclusion that their interest can be exploited 
politically to further the social revolution, which demands so many privations and 
sacrifices? Once they have grasped the idea of sex-economy, what will keep the masses 
from wanting to cash in on sexual freedom immediately? When we are engaged in 
difficult work, we have to listen to every objection very attentively, consider its validity 
and express our view on it. 

We have to be on our guard against allowing our wishful revolutionary thinking to get 
the best of us and regarding as a realistic possibility that which is only right ‘as such’. 

The success or failure of the fight against hunger will not be decided by the fact that one 
wants to eliminate it at all cost, but by the presence or absence of the objective 
preconditions necessary for its elimination. Can, in other words, the sexual -interest and 
sexual distress of the masses of all countries be translated into social action against the 
social system that causes this distress, as is done with primitive material interest ? We 
have cited the practical experiences and the theoretical considerations that indicate that 
what succeeds in individual groups and in individual meetings must also be possible on a 
mass scale. We have merely neglected to mention several additional preconditions, which 
are indispensable. To accomplish the task of putting social sex-economy into effective 
operation, it is first of all necessary to have a united workers’ movement. Without this 
precondition sex-economic work can only be of a preparatory nature. Furthermore, it is 
absolutely necessary to establish a tight international sex-economic organization, 
which would have the task of carrying out and securing the actual work. The final 
indispensable precondition is a cadre of thoroughly disciplined leaders of the movement. 
For the rest, it is not advisable to try to solve every individual problem in advance. That 
would be confusing and stagnating. It is practice itself that will yield new and more 
detailed practice. This book will not be burdened with such details. 


Finally, we arrive at the question of the so-called non-political man. Hitler not only 
established his power from the very beginning with masses of people who were until then 

essentially non-political; he also accomplished his last step to victory in March of 1933 in 
a ‘legal’ manner, by mobilizing no less than five million non-voters, that is to say, non- 
political people. The Left parties had made every effort to win over the indifferent 
masses, without posing the question as to what it means ‘to be indifferent or non- 

If an industrialist and large estate owner champions a rightist party, this is easily 
understood in terms of his immediate economic interests. In his case a leftist orientation 
would be at variance with his social situation and would, for that reason, point to 
irrational motives. If an industrial worker has a leftist orientation, this too is by all means 
rationally consistent - it derives from his economic and social position in industry. If, 
however, a worker, an employee or an official has a rightist orientation, this must be 
ascribed to a lack of political clarity, i.e., he is ignorant of his social position. The more a 
man who belongs to the broad working masses is non-political, the more susceptible he is 
to the ideology of political reaction. To be non-political is not, as one might suppose, 
evidence of a passive psychic condition, but of a highly active attitude, a defence against 
the awareness of social responsibility. The analysis of this defence against consciousness 
of one’s social responsibility yields clear insights into a number of dark questions 
concerning the behaviour of the broad non-political strata. In the case of the average 
intellectual ‘who wants nothing to do with polities’, it can easily be’ shown that 
immediate economic interests and fears related to his social position, which is dependent 
upon public opinion, He at the basis of his non-involvement. These fears cause him to 
make the most grotesque sacrifices with respect to his knowledge and convictions. Those 
people who are engaged in the production process in one way or another and are none- 
theless socially irresponsible can be divided into two major groups. In the case of the one 
group the concept of politics is unconsciously associated with the idea of violence and 
physical danger, i.e., with an intense fear, which prevents them from facing life 
realistically. In the case of the other group, which undoubtedly constitutes the majority, 
social irresponsibility is based on personal conflicts and anxieties, of which the sexual 
anxiety is the predominant one. When a young female employee who would have 
sufficient economic reason to be conscious of her social responsibility is socially 
irresponsible, then in ninety-nine out of one hundred cases it is due to her so-called love 
story, or, to be more specific, it is due to her sexual conflicts. The same holds true for the 
lower middle-class woman who has to muster all her psychic forces to master her sexual 
situation so as not to fall to pieces altogether. Until now the revolutionary movement has 
misunderstood this situation. It attempted to awaken the ‘non-political’ man by making 
him conscious solely of his unfulfilled economic interests. Experience teaches that the 
majority of these ‘non-political’ people can hardly be made to listen to anything about 
their socio-economic situation, whereas they are very accessible to the mystical claptrap 
of a National Socialist, despite the fact that the latter makes very little mention of 
economic interests. How is this to be explained? It is explained by the fact that severe 
sexual conflicts (in the broadest sense of the word), whether conscious or unconscious, 
inhibit rational thinking and the development of social responsibility. They make a 
person afraid and force him into a shell. If, now, such a self-encapsulated person meets a 
propagandist who works with faith and mysticism, meets, in other words, a fascist who 
works with sexual, libidinous methods, he turns his complete attention to him. This is not 
because the fascist programme makes a greater impression on him than the liberal 

programme, but because in his devotion to the fuhrer and the fuhrer’s ideology, he 
experiences a momentary release from his unrelenting inner tension. Unconsciously, he is 
able to give his conflicts a different form and in this way to ‘solve’ them. Finally, this 
orientation enables him on occasion to see the fascists as revolutionaries and Hitler as the 
German Lenin. One does not have to be a psychologist to understand why the erotically 
provocative form of fascism offers a kind of gratification, however distorted, to a 
sexually frustrated lower middle-class woman who has never thought about social 
responsibility, or to a young salesgirl who could not arrive at social consciousness owing 
to an intellectual deficiency caused by sexual conflicts. One has to know the hidden life 
of these five million indecisive, ‘non-political’, socially suppressed men and women to 
understand the role that private life, that is to say essentially sexual life, plays quietly and 
subterranean in the hubbub of social life. This is not to be grasped statistically; nor, for 
that matter, are we partisans of the sham exactness offered by statistics, which bypass the 
real facts of life, while Hitler conquers power with his negation of statistics and by 
making use of the dregs of sexual misery. 

The socially irresponsible man is the man absorbed in sexual conflicts. To want to 
make him conscious of his social responsibility by excluding sexuality, as was the case 
until now, is absolutely hopeless. Moreover, it is the surest way of delivering him into the 
hands of political reaction, which makes no bones about exploiting the consequences of 
his sexual misery. Upon simple calculation we see that one and only one approach is 
possible: the comprehension of his sexual life from a social point of view. At one time I 
myself would have shied away from such a conclusion, considering how banal it seems. I 
can understand, therefore, that the seasoned political economist will look upon such an 
interpretation as the brainchild of a dry, politically inexperienced, sedentary scholar. 
However, one who has attended sex-economic meetings knows that the overwhelming 
majority are people who had never attended a political meeting before. Non-affiliated and 
non-political men and women make up the overwhelming majority of the sex-economic 
organizations in western Germany. Just how presumptuous the seasoned political 
economists are in their judgement is most graphically proven by the fact that the 
international organization of mysticism has held an impressive sex-political meeting in its 
sense of the word in every small nest of the world at least once a week for the past 
thousands of years. For the Sunday meetings and rituals of the Mohammedans, Jews, etc., 
are nothing other than sex-political meetings. In view of the experience with sex- 
economic work and knowledge on the relationship between mysticism and sexual 
suppression that we already have, a neglect or denial of these facts constitutes an 
inexcusable reactionary support of the domination of middle Ages mentality and 
economic slavery. 

Finally, I want to deal with a fact that extends far beyond the everyday task: the 
biologic rigidity of the human organism and its relationship to the fight for social and 
individual freedom. 



When groups of settlers got lost in the American backwoods, they tried to find the 
path on which they had come in order once again to push forward into unknown terrain 
from known terrain. They did not form political parties to do this, nor did they engage in 
endless disputes about the unknown terrain. They did not knock one another’s heads off 
or ceaselessly bother one another to draft a programme on settlements. They acted in a 
natural work-democratic way on the basis of the given situation. They made a united 
effort to regain known terrain and then made a fresh effort to push on from there. 

When a vege to therapist loses himself in a maze of irrational reactions while treating a 
patient, he does not begin to argue with his patient on the’ existence or non-existence of 
God’. He does not become neurotic and irrational, but reviews the situation and attempts 
to form a lucid picture of the previous course of the treatment. He goes back to the last 
point of development at which he was still clear about the course of the treatment. 

Every living creature will naturally attempt to discover and eliminate the cause of a 
catastrophe in which it finds itself involved. It will not repeat actions that brought about 
the catastrophe in the first place. This is how difficulties are surmounted by experience. 
Our politicians are far removed from such natural reactions. It would not be farfetched to 
say that it is in the nature of a politician that he does not learn anything from experience. 
The Austrian monarchy triggered the First World War in 1914. At that time, it fought 
against American democrats with weapons in its hands. In 1942, during the Second 
World War, it entered a claim, which was backed by American diplomats, to re-establish 
the Habsburg dynasty ‘to avert’ new wars. This is irrational political nonsense. 

In the First World War ‘the Italians’ were the friends and allies of the Americans. In 
1942, during the Second World War, they were arch enemies, and in 1943, friends again. 
In the First World War, 1914, ‘the Italians’ were the arch enemies of ‘the Germans’, 
‘hereditary enemies’ from way back, as it were. In the Second World War, 1940, ‘the 
Italians’ and ‘the Germans’ were blood brothers, ‘again on grounds of heredity’. In the 
next world war, let’s say in 1963, ‘the Germans’ and ‘the French’ will have switched 
from ‘racial hereditary enemies’ to ‘racial hereditary friends’. 

This is the emotional plague. It’s something like this: A Copernicus comes along in 
the sixteenth century and asserts that the earth revolves around the sun; in the seventeenth 
century one of his pupils comes along and asserts that the earth does not revolve around 
the sun, and in the eighteenth century this man’s pupil again asserts that it does revolve 
around the sun. In the twentieth century, however, the astronomers assert that both 
Copernicus and his pupils were right, for the earth revolves around the sun and remains 
still at the same time. When dealing with a Copernicus, we are ready with the stake. 
When dealing with a politician, however, a politician who tells a people that the most 
incredible nonsense is true, who in 1940 holds up to be true precisely the opposite of 
what be held up to be true in 1939, then millions of people lose all bounds and assert that 
a miracle has taken place. 

It is a rule of good science not to put forth a new theory as long as the old theories 
work well. If, however, the old theories prove to be inadequate or erroneous, then one 
proceeds to ferret out their errors, to subject them to a critique and to develop new views 

on the basis of fresh data. Such natural procedures are alien to the politician. No matter 
how ma’ny new facts are added to the old; no matter how many errors are exposed; the 
old theories continue to exist as slogans, and the new facts are concealed or passed off as 
illusions. The democratic formalities have disappointed millions of people in Europe, and 
thus opened the road to fascist dictatorship. The democratic politicians fail to go back to 
the starting points of democratic principles, to correct them in keeping with the radical 
changes that have taken place in social life and to give them a useful direction. Fresh 
votes are held on formalities, on precisely those formalities that were dethroned so in- 
gloriously in Europe. 

One wants to think out and to plan a system of peace and to put it to a vote. It is clear 
that one shrinks back from this system even before the planning begins. The basic 
elements of peace and of human cooperation are physically present in man’s natural work 
relationships, and they provide the basis for the development of guarantees of 
peaceableness. They must not be ‘introduced’ — they are already there, A good 
physician does not ‘introduce’ a ‘new health’ into a critically sick organism. He finds out 
which elements of health are spontaneously present in the sick organism. When he finds 
them, he plays them off against the process of sickness. The same holds true for the sick 
social organism when one approaches it through social science and not with political 
programmes and ideas. It is only possible to develop the actual conditions of freedom that 
are present and to eliminate the obstacles that thwart this development. But this must be 
done organically. One cannot impose legally guaranteed freedoms on a sick social 

The relationship of the masses to the state can be best illustrated by using the Soviet 
Union as an example. The reasons for this are as follows; The groundwork for the social 
revolution of 1917 was prepared by a sociological theory that had been tested over a 
period of ten years. The Russian Revolution made use of this theory. Millions of people 
took part in the social upheaval, endured it, rejoiced in it and passed it on. What became 
of the sociological theory and of the masses in the ‘proletarian state’ in the course of 
twenty years? 

The development of the Soviet Union cannot be ignored if one is seriously concerned 
with the question of democracy. What is its nature, can it be realized, and how? The 
difference between work-democratic mastering of difficulties on the one hand and formal 
democratic politicking on the other hand was very clearly shown in the attitude of the 
various political and economic organizations to the Soviet Union. 


The Italian- Abyssinian war had broken out; one event followed another precipitately. 
No one knew or could know how the world would change in the following months and 
years. The organized workers’ movement did not intervene in the events. It was 
internationally split. It was mute, to all intents and purposes, or it followed this or that 
political view in a very desultory manner. It has to be admitted that the Soviet Union did 
fight for peace in Geneva through Litvinov, but it was a total failure as a social pioneer. 
New, undreamed of catastrophes were to be expected. One had to prepare oneself for 

them. A new solution to the social chaos could result from them; but they could also slip 
past without anything being made of them, as in 1918 and 193 3 in Germany. One had to 
make sure that one was structurally prepared for social upheavals. One had to be 
especially careful not to get entangled in the drag rope of the many confusing and 
contradictory political everyday views. It was necessary to isolate oneself from the daily 
political tumult and yet to maintain a close contact with the social processes. It seemed 
more important than ever to stick to one’s work on the problem of human structure. Most 
of all it was necessary to establish clarity on the development of the Soviet Union. 
Millions upon millions of working men and women in Germany, England, America, 
China and elsewhere anxiously followed every step taken by the Soviet Union. Those 
versed in mass psychology knew that if a disappointment in the Soviet Union were added 
to the catastrophe in Germany, then a hard struggle for clarity would be the first 
precondition to survive a new war scientifically. 

The European war, i.e., the Second World War in one generation was impending. 

There was still time to reflect upon what changes this Second World War might bring 
about. It was still possible for human thought - even if no longer possible for human 
action - to come to grips with the new massacre and to arrive at an understanding of the 
war psychosis, an understanding that would be deadly to the war-mongers. Those who 
knew this had a hard time keeping their heads clear and their blood calm. But it had to be 
accomplished, for this Second World War, which had begun in Africa, and was soon to 
encompass the whole planet, would also have to end someday. Then the answer would 
have to be: ‘Death to the warmongers’ and ‘Annihilation of the causes of war’. But no 
one had any idea how this answer would look in practice. 

In 1935 it was clear that the development of the Soviet Union was about to be stricken 
with a severe misfortune. The democratic politicians in Germany, Scandinavia and other 
countries did not try to trace this misfortune to its source, though they spoke about it a 
great deal. They failed to go back to the genuinely democratic efforts of Engels and 
Lenin, to refresh their knowledge on the sociological points of departure of the Soviet 
society, and to proceed from there to an understanding of its later development. In Europe 
it was not .possible to ignore these pioneers of genuine democracy, any more than it is 
possible for a genuinely democratic American to ignore the American constitution and 
the basic ideas of American pioneers, such as Jefferson, Lincoln and others. Engels was 
the most outstanding exponent of German democracy, as Lenin was of Russian 
democracy. They had not got stuck informalities; they had gone to the core of democracy. 
They were avoided. It makes no difference whether they were avoided because one was 
afraid of being labelled a Communist or because one was afraid of losing one’s academic 
or political position. Engels was a well-to-do factory owner and Lenin was a well-to-do 
son of an official. They were descendants of the ‘ruling class’, who sought to develop a 
system of genuine democracy from Marxist social economy (which, incidentally, was 
also born in ‘bourgeois circles’). 

Engels’ and Lenin’s democratic framework of ideas fell into neglect. Its demands on 
the conscientiousness of the Europeans were too high and, as it was later shown, on the 
Russian politicians and sociologists as well. It was too much for them. Today [1944] 
natural work-democracy cannot be described without reviewing the forms that it assumed 
in the socio-political ideas of Engels and Lenin from 1850 to 1920. We must also review 
the forms it assumed in the early developmental process in the Soviet Union from 1917 to 

around 1923. The Russian Revolution was an act of extraordinary social significance. 

For that very reason the importance of its retardation is enormous from a sociological 
point of view; it is a tremendous lesson for every genuinely democratic effort. Practically 
speaking, there is not much to hope for from the purely emotional enthusiasm for 
Russia’s deeds of heroism in her war against Hitler. In 1943 the motives of this 
enthusiasm, which was absent between 1917 and 1923, are of a very dubious nature. 

They are dictated far more by egoistic war interests than by the will to achieve genuine 

The following examination of the development of the Soviet Union was first written in 
1935. One will ask why it was not published at that time. This requires a brief 
explanation. In Europe, where it was impossible to engage in practical work on mass 
psychology outside of the parties, one who carried out scientific investigations undeterred 
by political interests and made predictions that were at variance with party politics, was 
very apt to be excluded from the organizations and thereby deprived of one’s contact with 
the masses. All parties were of one opinion on this point. It is in the nature of a political 
party that it does not orient itself in terms of truth, but in terms of illusions, which usually 
correspond to the irrational structure of the masses. Scientific truths merely interfere with 
the party politician’s habit of wriggling himself out of difficulties with the help of 
illusions. To be sure, the illusions are of no use in the long run, as was demonstrated so 
graphically in Europe itself from 1938 on. In the long run, scientific truths are the only 
reliable guidelines for social life, but these truths pertaining to the Soviet Union were still 
nothing more than germs, which would have been incapable of stirring public opinion, let 
alone mass enthusiasm. They were nothing more than pricks of conscience. It was 
reserved for the Second World War to intensify on a broad scale the receptiveness for 
facts and above all to reveal to broad circles of working humanity the basic irrational 
nature of all politics. 

When one establishes a fact, one is not concerned whether it is welcome or not, but 
only whether it applies. Thus, one always gets involved in a sharp conflict with politics, 
which is not concerned whether a fact is applicable or not, but solely whether it interferes 
with this or that political group. Hence, the scientific sociologist has no easy time of it. 
On the one hand it is his task to discover and to describe the actual process; on the other 
hand he has to remain in contact with the vital social movement. In publishing 
embarrassing factual material, therefore, he must consider very carefully what effect his 
correct statements will have on the masses of people who are predominantly under the 
influence of political irrationalism. A social scientific view having some intellectual 
range can push through and become social practice only if it is spontaneously absorbed 
by the masses in life itself. Outdated political systems of thought and institutions inimical 
to freedom must be totally exhausted politically before rational views on the vital neces- 
sities of society can be generally and spontaneously assimilated. But the exhaustion of 
these systems and institutions must be perceptible to everyone. In the United States, for 
example, the fuming and fussing of the politicos has popularized the general, not at all 
very scientifically comprehended knowledge that the politician constitutes a cancerous 
growth on the social body. In the Europe of 1935 one was far removed from this know- 
ledge. It was the politician who determined what was to be regarded as true and what as 

Usually an important social awareness begins to assume a more or less clear form 
among the population long before it is expressed and represented in an organized way. 
Today, 1944, the hatred of politics, a hatred based on concrete facts, has undoubtedly 
become general. If, now, a group of social scientists has made correct observations and 
formulations, i.e., observations and formulations that clearly reflect the objective social 
processes, then the ‘theory’ must of necessity be in agreement with the vital feelings of 
the masses of people. It is as if two independent processes moved in a convergent 
direction and came together at one point, a point at which the social process and the will 
of the masses became one with sociological knowledge. This seems to hold true for 
important social processes everywhere. The American emancipation from England in 
1776 followed this process, just as the emancipation of the Russian society from the 
czarist state followed it in 1917. The absence of correct sociological work can have a 
catastrophic effect. In such a case, the objective process and the will of the masses have 
reached a point of maturity; but if there is no simple scientific principle to consolidate 
them, this maturity is lost again. That is what happened in Germany in 1918 when the 
kaiserdom was overthrown but no genuine democracy developed. 

The fusion of the scientific and social processes into the unity of a fundamentally new 
social order fails to result if the process of scientific awareness does not grow out of the 
old views just as organically as the social process grows out of the misery of practical 
life. I say, to grow out of organically, because it is not possible to ‘contrive’, ‘think out’ 
or ‘plan’ a new order. It has to grow organically, in close connection with the practical 
and theoretical facts of the human animal’s life. It is for this reason that all attempts ‘to 
get at the masses politically’, to impose ‘revolutionary ideas’ on them, fail and lead only 
to noisy and harmful fuming and fussing. 

The awareness of the peculiar nature of fascism, which could not be explained by any 
purely economic view of social life, and the awareness of the authoritarian and 
nationalistic structure of the Soviet Union of 1940 developed spontaneously everywhere; 
no political party had anything to do with it. It was general, latent knowledge that fascism 
had as little to do with the class rule of the ‘bourgeoisie’ as the ‘Soviet democracy’ of 
Stalin had to do with the social democracy of Lenin. It was noted everywhere that the old 
concepts were no longer applicable to the new processes. Those who were directly 
involved with man’s vital life, those who - as physicians and educators - had acquired an 
exact knowledge of men and women of all walks of life and various nationalities were 
not easily taken in by political slogans. Those who had always been non-political and had 
lived solely for their work were in an especially good position. It was precisely these 
‘non-political’ circles in Europe, men and women who were totally absorbed by their 
work, who were accessible to important social insights; whereas those who had been 
economically and ideologically identified with this or that party apparatus at one time or 
another were rigid and inaccessible to every new insight. As a rale, they defended 
themselves with irrational hatred against every attempt to elucidate the fundamentally 
new phenomenon of the authoritarian, ‘totalitarian’, dictatorial regime. When one also 
takes into consideration that all the party organizations, regardless of their tendencies, 
had a purely economic orientation, whereas the dictators based their policies not on 
economic processes but on the irrational attitudes of the masses, then it is easily 
understood that a social scientist working in the field of mass psychology was forced to 
proceed with the utmost caution and circumspection. All he could do was to register 

conscientiously whether the social development was confirming or refuting his bio- 
psychic insights. It confirmed them! Many physicians, educators, writers, social workers, 
adolescents, industrial workers and others became more and more convinced that political 
irrationalism would one day gallop itself to death, and that the demands of natural work, 
love and knowledge would become part of mass consciousness and mass action. There 
would be no need to carry out a propaganda campaign to sell the theory. However, it was 
impossible to know just how great a catastrophe political irrationalism would have to 
cause before it was arrested by the natural feelings for life of the toiling masses, to know 
how long it would take before it was choked by its own acts. 

Following the German catastrophe in 1933, the Soviet Union regressed rapidly to 
authoritarian and nationalistic forms of social leadership. It was clear to a large number 
of scientists, journalists and workers’ functionaries that it was a regression to 
‘nationalism’. It was not clear whether it was nationalism patterned after fascism. 

The word fascism is not a word of abuse any more than the word capitalism is. It is a 
concept denoting a very definite kind of mass leadership and mass influence: 
authoritarian, one-party system, hence totalitarian, a system in which power takes priority 
over objective interests, and facts are distorted for political purposes. Hence, there are 
‘fascist Jews’, just as there are ‘fascist Democrats’. 

If one had published such observations at that time, the Soviet government would have 
cited them as an example of ‘counter-revolutionary tendencies’ and ‘Trotskian fascism’. 
The masses of the Soviet population were still enjoying the impetus of the 1917 
Revolution. Their material situation was still improving, and there was no unemployment 
to speak of. The population enjoyed the reintroduction of sports for everybody, the 
theatre, literature and other things. Those who had experienced the German catastrophe 
knew that these so-called cultural enjoyments of a people do not tell us much about the 
nature and development of its society. In short, they did not tell us anything about the 
Soviet society. Going to the movies, visiting the theatre, reading books, playing sports, 
brushing one’s teeth and attending school are of course important, but they do not 
constitute a difference between a dictatorial state and a genuinely democratic society. 
‘Culture is enjoyed’ in the one as well as in the other. It has been a typical and basic error 
on the part of Socialists and Communists to extol an apartment building, a public 
transportation system, or a new school as ‘socialistic’ achievements. Apartment houses, 
public transportation and schools tell us something about the technical development of a 
society. They did not tell us whether the members of that society are suppressed subjects 
or free workers, whether they are rational or irrational men and women. 

Since the Soviet Russians extolled every technical innovation as a ‘specifically 
communist’ achievement, the Soviet population got the impression that such things did 
not exist in the capitalist countries. Therefore, it was not to be expected that the 
population would understand the deterioration of Soviet democracy to nationalism, or 
become aware of this deterioration on its own. It is one of mass psychology’s basic tenets 
that it does not proclaim an’ objective truth’ simply because it is a truth. It first asks itself 
how the average person of the working population will react to an objective process. 

This approach automatically precludes political abuse. If, namely, someone feels that 
he has discovered a truth, he is obliged to wait until it has been objectively and 

independently manifested. If this manifestation does not take place, then his truth was not 
a truth after all, and it is better remaining as a possibility in the background. 

The catastrophic regression in the Soviet Union was anxiously followed in Europe and 
elsewhere. Thus, only about one hundred copies of this examination of the relationship 
between’ the masses and the state’ were sent to various friends of sex-economy and mass 
psychology in Europe, Russia and America. The prediction in 1929 that Soviet 
democracy would deteriorate into a totalitarian dictatorship was based on the fact that the 
sexual revolution in the Soviet Union had not only been checked, but almost intentionally 

suppressed.^* Sexual suppression serves, as we know, to mechanise and enslave the 
masses. Thus, wherever we encounter authoritarian and moralistic suppression of 
childhood and adolescent sexuality, suppression backed up by the law, we can infer with 
certainty that there are strong authoritarian-dictatorial tendencies in the social 
development, regardless of which slogans the ruling politicians use. On the other hand we 
can infer genuine democratic social tendencies wherever we encounter a sympathetic, 
life-affirmative attitude on the part of the important social institutions towards the 
sexuality of children and adolescents; but only to the extent to which such attitudes are 
present. Thus, as early as 1929, when reactionary sexual attitudes became more and more 
prevalent in the Soviet Union, one was justified in drawing the conclusion that an 
authoritarian, dictatorial development in the social leadership was in progress. I went into 
this very thoroughly in The Sexual Revolution. My predictions were confirmed by the 
official legislation passed from 1934 on, i.e., by the reintroduction of reactionary sexual 

At that time I did not know that a new attitude towards sex-economic questions had 
developed in the United States, an attitude that would later facilitate the acceptance of 

We requested the friends to whom we had sent copies of this unofficial pamphlet to 
think it over carefully and, if they agreed with it oh the whole, to pass it on to other 
sociologists in their immediate vicinity who were in a position to understand the 
contradiction in the development of the Soviet Union. In no case whatever were the 
contents of this pamphlet to be printed in any newspaper or read at a mass meeting. The 
events themselves would determine when it was to be discussed in public. Between 1935 
and 1939 the cause of the regression to authoritarian forms in the Soviet Union was 
understood from the point of view of mass psychology by an increasing number of 
leading sociological circles. This understanding replaced the fruitless indignation one felt 
about the ‘regression’; one learned to understand that the Soviet Union’s further develop- 
ment foundered on the authority-craving structures of the masses of people, a fact that 
was not discerned by the Soviet leadership. This was an enormously important insight. 


The question as to ‘how’ a new social order is to be implemented wholly coincides 
with the question as to the character structure of the broad masses, the non-political, 
irrationally influenced working segment of the population. Thus, at the bottom of the 
failure to achieve a genuine social revolution lies the failure of the masses of people: 
They reproduce the ideology and forms of life of political reaction in their own structures 

and thereby in every new generation, despite the fact that they sometimes succeed in 
shattering this ideology and these forms within the social framework. At that time the 
question ‘How do the broad masses of the non-political segment of the population think, 
feel and react?” was neither raised nor understood. Hence, there was little possibility of 
mastering it in a practical way. A great deal of confusion existed. On the occasion of the 
plebiscite held in the Saar in 1935, the Vienna sociologist Willi Schlamm wrote the 

In truth, the epoch is gone in which we had the impression that the masses of society 
could be guided by reason and by insights into their situation of life to achieve social 
improvement with their own strength. In truth, the days are gone in which the masses 
have a function in shaping society. It has been shown that the masses can be completely 
moulded that they are unconscious and capable of adapting themselves to any kind of 
power or infamy. They have no historical mission. In the 2oth century, in the century of 
tanks and radios, they have no mission - the masses have been excluded from the process 
of social formation. 

Schlamm was right, but in a sterile way. He failed to ask how such an attitude on the 
part of the masses could arise, whether it was innate or capable of being changed. If I 
have understood him correctly, he had no hope, not even as a general principle. 

It has to be clearly understood that such observations were not only unpopular but 
often mortally dangerous, because the Social Democratic and Liberal parties in the 
countries that were still not fascist lived precisely in the illusion that the masses as such, 
just as they are, were capable of freedom and liberalism, and that paradise on earth would 
be assured if only those wicked Hitler’s were not around. As was shown again and again 
in both personal and public discussions, the democratic politicians and, quite particularly, 
the Social Democratic and Communist politicians had not the least understanding of the 
simple fact that the masses - owing to their century-long suppression - could not be other 
than incapable of freedom. They were not only unwilling to admit this fact, but often 
reacted in a restless and threatening way when it was mentioned. In reality, however, 
everything that had taken place in the sphere of international politics since the Russian 
Revolution of 1917 confirmed the correctness of the assertion that the masses were 
incapable of freedom. Without this insight it was altogether impossible to understand the 
fascist deluge. 

In the years between 1930 and 1933 my perception of the true state of affairs became 
more and more crystalled, and I found myself involved in serious conflicts with well- 
disposed liberal, socialist and Communist politicians. Nonetheless, the time seemed right 
for publication, so in 1933 I wrote the first edition of the present volume. In a pamphlet 
entitled Was ist Klassenbewusstsein?, Ernst Parell showed the implications of my insights 
for socialist politics. 

Actually, my diagnosis could easily have led to a state of hopelessness, for if all social 
events are dependent upon the structure and behaviour of the masses, and if it is true that 
the masses are incapable of freedom, and then the victory of the fascist dictatorship 
would have to be definitive. But this diagnosis was not absolute and not without 
implications. It is fundamentally altered by two additional considerations: 

1. The incapacity for freedom on the part of masses of people is not innate. People 
were not always incapable of freedom. 'Hence, fundamentally speaking, they can become 
capable of freedom. 

2. As was thoroughly demonstrated by sex-economic sociology, with the help of 
clinical experience, the mechanism that makes masses of people incapable of freedom is 
the social suppression of genital sexuality in small children, adolescents and adults. This 
social suppression is not part of the natural order of things. It developed as a part of 
patriarchy and, therefore, is capable of being eliminated, fundamentally speaking. If, 
however, social suppression of natural sexuality in the masses is capable of being 
eliminated, and if it is the central mechanism of a character structure incapable of 
freedom, then - and this is the conclusion - it is not hopeless. The road is clear for-society 
to master all the social conditions we call the ‘emotional plague’. 

Schlamm’s error, and the error of many other sociologists as well, was that while he 
confirmed the fact of the incapacity for freedom on the part of masses of people, he failed 
to draw the practical consequences from sex-economic sociology, with which he was 
well familiar, and to advocate them. More than any of the others, it was Erich Fromm 
who later managed to disregard completely the sexual problem of masses of people and 
its relationship to the fear of freedom and craving for authority. I was never able to 
understand this, for I had no reason to doubt the basic honesty of Fromm’s position. But 
sexual negation in both social and personal life plays many a trick that is inaccessible to 
rational understanding. 

The reader will have noticed just how much the emphasis has shifted from 
sociological investigations of political and economic factors to the investigation of 
factors pertaining to mass psychology, sex-economy and character structure. The 
diagnosis that the masses of people are incapable of freedom that the suppression of 
natural sexuality is the chief mechanism that is used to produce the imprisonment of the 
character and, above all, the shifting of the responsibility from individual organizations or 
politicians to the freedom-incapacitated masses themselves were enormous readjustments 
in thinking and, consequently, also in the practical handling of social problems. One was 
in a better position to understand the ceaseless complaints of the various political parties 
that ‘one still had not succeeded in reaching the working masses’. One understood why 
the masses ‘can be completely moulded, that they are unconscious and capable of 
adapting themselves to any kind of power or infamy’. Above all, one understood the 
fascist intoxication of the masses with racism. One understood the helplessness and 
powerlessness of those sociologists and politicians, whose orientation was purely 
economic, understood their helplessness in the face of the catastrophic events of the first 
half of the twentieth century. Now it was possible to trace back every form of political 
reaction to the emotional plague, which had become more and more anchored in the 
structures of the masses of people since the incursion of authoritarian patriarchy. 

Now the genuine democratic revolutionary movement can have no other task than to 
guide (not ‘lead’ from the top!) the human masses that have become apathetic, incapable 
of discrimination, biopathic and slavish as the result of the suppression of their vital life 
over thousands of years; to guide them in such a way that they sense every suppression 
immediately and learn to shake it off promptly, finally and irrevocably. It is easier to 
prevent a neurosis than it is to cure it. It is easier to keep an organism healthy than it is to 

rid it of an infirmity. It is also easier to keep a social organism free of dictatorial 
institutions than it is to eliminate such institutions. It is the task of genuine democratic 
guidance to make the masses leap over themselves, as it were. But a mass of people can 
surpass itself only when it develops in its own ranks social organizations that do not 
compete with diplomats in political algebra, but think out and articulate for the masses of 
people that which they cannot think out and articulate for themselves, owing to their 
distress, lack of training, bondage to the fuhrer idea and the plague of irrationalism. In 
short , we hold the masses of people responsible for every social process. We demand that 
they be responsible and we fight against their irresponsibility. 

We impute the fault to them, but we do not accuse them as one would accuse a 

There is more to a new and genuine social order than the elimination of dictatorial- 
authoritarian social institutions. There is also more to it than the establishment of new 
institutions, for these new institutions will also inevitably degenerate into a dictatorial- 
authoritarian form if the authoritarian absolutism anchored in the character structures of 
the masses of the people is not also eliminated through education and social hygiene. It is 
not as if we had revolutionary angels on the one side and reactionary devils on the other 
side, avaricious capitalists as opposed to generous workers. If sociology and mass 
psychology are to have a practical function as genuine sciences, then every effort must be 
made to free them of the political way of seeing everything as either black or white. They 
have to go to the core of the contradictory nature of the man raised in an authoritarian 
manner and help to search out, articulate and remove political reaction in the behaviour 
and in the structure of the working masses of people. It should not have to be particularly 
stressed that these genuine sociologists and mass psychologists must not exclude 
themselves from this process. By now it will have become clear that a nationalisation or 
socialisation of production cannot by itself effect the slightest change in human slavery. 
The piece of ground one buys to build a house in which to live and work is only a 
precondition of life and work; it is not this life and work itself. To regard the economic 
process of a society as the essence of the bio-social process of the human animal’s 
society is the same as equating the piece of ground and the house with the rearing of 
children, or of equating hygiene and work with dancing and music. But it was precisely 
this purely economic view of life (a view that Lenin had strongly opposed even in his 
time) that forced the Soviet Union to regress to an authoritarian form. 

The economic process introduced by the Soviets was also supposed to change the 
people - that was the expectation around 1920. The elimination of illiteracy and the 
transformation of an agrarian country into an industrial country are, to be sure, 
tremendous achievements, but they cannot be passed off as specifically socialistic 
achievements, for they had been attained in the same way and often more extensively by 
ultra-capitalistic governments. 

Since 1917 the basic question of mass psychology has been: Will the culture that 
originated from the social upheaval in Russia in 1917 develop a human community that is 
fundamentally and essentially different from the overthrown tsarist-authoritarian social 
order? Will the new socio-economic order of the Russian society reproduce itself in 
man’s character structure, and how will it reproduce itself? Would the new ‘Soviet man’ 
be free, no authoritarian, rational, self-governing, and would he transmit these capacities 

to his children? Would the freedom developed in such a way in the human structure make 
every form of authoritarian social leadership unnecessary, indeed impossible? The 
existence or non-existence of authoritarian dictatorial institutions in the Soviet Union 
would have to become clear-cut standards for the nature of the development of the Soviet 

It is understandable that the entire world followed the Soviet Union’s development 
with tense expectation - in some parts of the world, apprehensively; in other parts, 
elatedly. But the attitude towards the Soviet Union was none too rational on the whole. 
Some defended the Soviet system just as uncritically as others attacked it. There were 
groups of intellectuals who took the position that ‘the Soviet Union had a thing or two to 
boast of, too’. This sounded just like the Hitlerite who said that ‘there are also decent 
Jews’. Such emotional judgements were both senseless and valueless. In a word, they 
were sterile. And the leaders of the Soviet Union rightfully complained that people did 
not really do anything in a practical way for the Russian society, but merely cavilled 
about it. 

The struggle continued between the rational and progressive forces of social 
development on the one hand and the reactionary forces of obstruction and regression on 
the other hand. Thanks to Marx, Engels and Lenin, the economic conditions of forward 
development were appreciably better understood than those forces that acted as a brake. 
No one thought to raise the question of the irrationalism of the masses. Hence, the 
development towards freedom, which was so promising in the beginning, came to a 
standstill and then regressed to an authoritarian form. 

It was more fruitful to understand the mechanism of this regression than to deny it, as 
was done by the European Communist parties. By piously, religiously and fanatically 
defending everything that took place in the Soviet Union, they deprived themselves of 
every practical possibility of solving the social difficulties. And yet it is certain that the 
natural scientific elucidation of the irrational contradictions of the human character 
structure will, in the long run, do more for the development of the Soviet Union than any 
stupid hullabaloo about salvation. Such a scientific approach may be unpleasant and 
painful, but in reality it is prompted by far deeper feelings of friendship than political 
slogans are. The Soviet Russians who are engaged in everyday practical work know this 
very well. I can only affirm that at that time the sex-economic physicians and educators 
were as concerned as the champions of Sovietism were. 

This concern was certainly justified. In the industrial plants, the original ‘triumviral 
directorship’ and the democratic economic production advisers were replaced by 
authoritarian ‘responsible’ management. 

In the schools, the first attempts at self-government (Dalton plan, etc.) had failed; and 
the old authoritarian school regulations, however disguised by formal student organiza- 
tions, were reintroduced. 

In the army the original, straightforward and democratic officer-system was replaced 
by a rigid order of rank. At first the ‘Marshal of the Soviet Union’ was an 
incomprehensible innovation. Then it seemed dangerous. It had overtones of ‘tsar’ and 

Indications of a regression to authoritarian and moralistic views and laws accumulated 
in the field of sex-economic sociology. This is thoroughly described in Part II of my book 
Die Sexualitdt im Kulturkampf 1936. 

In human intercourse, suspicion, cynicism, contrivance and byzantine obedience 
became more and more rife. If in 1929 the mood of the average Soviet Russian was still 
imbued with heroic sacrifice for the five-year plan and full of high hopes for the success 
of the Revolution, around 1935 one sensed an evasive, unsteady and embarrassed 
oscillation in the feelings and thinking of the population. One sensed cynicism, dis- 
appointment and that certain kind of ‘worldly wiseness’, which is incompatible with 
serious social aims. 

It was not only that the Cultural Revolution in the Soviet Union had failed. In the 
course of a few years the regression in the cultural process stifled the enthusiasm and 
hope of an entire world. 

It is not the fault of a social leadership if a social regression takes place. But this social 
leadership consolidates regression if it: (1) tries to pass off the regression as progress, (2) 
proclaims itself to be the saviour of the world, and (3) shoots those who remind it of its 

Sooner or later it will have to give way to a different social leadership, one that 
adheres to the generally valid principles of social development. 

There were socialist movements and a socialist yearning long before there was 
scientific knowledge on the social preconditions of socialism. The fight of the 
disappropriated against their oppressors has been raging for thousands of years. It was 
these fights that provided the scientific knowledge of the freedom aspirations of the 
suppressed and not vice versa, as the fascist character believes. It cannot be denied that it 
was precisely between 1918 and 1938, i.e., years of enormous social magnitude, that the 
socialists suffered very serious defeats. Precisely at a time that should have offered living 
proof of the maturity and rationality of the socialist freedom movement, the workers’ 
movement split up and became bureaucratic, became more and more separated from the 
thirst for freedom and truth from which it had originally sprung. 

The socialist yearning of the millions was an intense desire for freedom from every 
form of suppression. But this intense desire for freedom was coupled with a fear of 
responsibility and thus appeared in the form of a compromise. The fear of social 
responsibility on the part of the masses of people brought the socialist movement into the 
political sphere. However, in the scientific sociology of Karl Marx, who worked out the 
economic conditions of social independence, we find no mention of the state as the goal 
of socialist freedom. The ‘socialist’ state is an invention of party bureaucrats. And now, 
it, ‘the state’, was supposed to introduce freedom: not the masses of the people, you see, 
but the state. It will be my object in what follows to show that the socialist idea of the 
state not only had nothing to do with the theory of the early socialists, but, on the con- 
trary, represented a distortion of the socialist movement. However unconsciously it may 
have been brought about, this distortion is to be imputed to the structural helplessness of 
the masses of people, who were nonetheless imbued with an intense desire for freedom. 
An intense desire for freedom on the one hand, coupled with a structural fear of the 
responsibility of self-government on the other hand, produced in the Soviet Union a form 

of state that was less and less in accord with the original programme of the Communists 
and eventually assumed an authoritarian, totalitarian and dictatorial form. 

Let us attempt to sketch the basic socialist character of the most important social 
movements towards freedom. 

The early Christian movement is often and rightfully designated as ‘socialist’. The 
founders of socialism also regarded the slave revolts of antiquity and the peasant wars of 
the middle Ages as precursors of the socialist movement of the nineteenth and twentieth 
centuries. It was the lack of development of the industrial conditions and the international 
means of communication, as well as the lack of a sociological theory, that precluded their 
success. According to the sociology of its founders, ‘socialism’ was conceivable only on 
an international scale. A national or even nationalistic socialism (National Socialism = 
fascism) is sociological nonsense. In the strictest sense of the word it is mass deception. 
Imagine that a physician discovers a medicine to fight a certain disease and calls it 
‘serum’. Now a clever profiteer comes along who wants to make money on people’s 
illnesses. He concocts a poison that produces this sickness, which in turn evokes an 
intense desire in man to get well again, and he calls this poisonous agent a ‘healing 
agent’. He would be the national socialist heir of this physician,, just as Hitler, Mussolini 
and Stalin became the national socialist heirs of Karl Marx’s international socialism. 

To be correct, the profiteer who wants to get rich on illnesses should call his poison a 
‘toxin’. However, he calls it a ‘serum’, because he knows very well that he would not be 
able to sell toxin as a medicine. The very same thing applies to the words ‘social’ and 

Words that have been stamped with a very definite meaning cannot be used arbitrarily 
without causing hopeless confusion. The concept ‘socialism’ was inextricably related to 
the concept ‘international’. The theory of socialism presupposed a definite degree of 
maturity in international economy. The imperialistic struggle for markets, natural 
resources and centres of power will have to have assumed the character of rapacious 
wars. Economic anarchy will have to have become the chief obstacle to the further 
development of social productivity. The chaos of economy will have to have become 
clear to everyone, for example: the destruction of excess goods to check a sudden drop in 
prices, while masses of people are hungry and starving. The private appropriation of 
collectively produced goods will have to have come into sharp conflict with the needs of 
the society. International trade will have to have begun to feel that the tariff boundaries of 
the national states and the market principle are insurmountable barriers. 

The objective socio-economic preconditions of an international attitude and 
orientation on the part of the inhabitants of the earth have developed enormously since 
1918. The aeroplane lessened the distances between peoples and bridged the expanses 
that formerly preserved differences in degrees of civilization that were equivalent to 
thousands of years. With ever-increasing rapidity, international traffic has begun to 
obliterate the civilization gaps of earlier centuries. There was an infinitely greater gap 
between the Arab of the nineteenth century and the Englishman of the nineteenth century 
than there is between the Arab and Englishman of the middle of the twentieth century. 
More and more curbs were placed upon capitalistic adventurers. In short, the socio- 
economic preconditions of internationalism increased by leaps and bounds. However, this 
economic ripening of in ternationalism was not accompanied by a corresponding 

development in man’s structure and ideology. While the idea of internationalism 
continued to develop along economic lines, it made little headway in man’s structure and 
ideology. This was shown not only in the workers’ movement, but also in the 
development of nationalistic dictators in Europe: Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy, 
Doriot and Laval in France, Stalin in Russia, Manner-heim in Finland, Horthy in 
Hungary, etc. No one could have anticipated this cleavage between socio-economic 
progress and a regression in man’s structure. The degeneration of the Workers’ 
International to a chauvinistic national socialism was more than a collapse of the old 
freedom movement, which had always been nothing but international. It was an 
unprecedented outbreak of the emotional plague on an enormous scale in the very midst 
of the suppressed social strata, in which great minds had placed hopes that they would 
one day create a new order in the world. A nadir of this ‘national socialist’ degeneration 
was the racial hatred felt by the white workers against the black workers in the United 
States and the loss of all socio-political initiative and perspective in many a large union. 
When the freedom idea is seized upon by the mentality of sergeants, then freedom is in a. 
bad plight. Old and brutal injustice revenged itself upon those masses who had nothing to 
sell but their working power. Unscrupulous exploitation and irresponsibility on the part 
of powerful capitalists struck back like a boomerang. Since the idea of internationalism 
had failed to take root in man’s structure, the national socialist movements took the wind 
out of its sails by exploiting the intense desire for international socialism. Under the 
leadership of ‘sergeants’ who had risen from the ranks of the suppressed, the international 
socialist movement split up into nationally confined, isolated, mutually hostile mass 
movements, which merely gave the appearance of being revolutionary. To make matters 
worse, a number of these rigidly nationalistic mass movements became international 
movements, no doubt owing to the effect of the old international orientation of their 
followers. Italian and German National Socialism became international fascism. In the 
strict sense of the word it attracted masses on an international scale in the form of a 
perverse ‘nationalistic internationalism’. In this form it crushed genuine democratic 
revolts in Spain and in Austria. The heroic fight of the genuine revolutionaries who had 
been isolated by the masses of the people (1934-6) was another Thermopylae. 

In all of this the irrationalism of the mass structure, as well as politics in general, was 
clearly expressed. For years the German working masses had resisted the programme of a 
revolutionary internationalism. And yet, from 1933 on, they endured all the suffering that 
a genuine social revolution would have entailed, without, however, enjoying a single fruit 
that a genuine social revolution would have brought them. They had grossly deceived 
themselves and were defeated by their own irrationalism, i.e., their fear of social 

These facts were hardly comprehensible. Yet, let us make an honest endeavour to 
understand them, despite their seeming incomprehensibility. 

Since the entry of the United States into the Second World War an international and 
generally human orientation has gained more and more ground. Y et it is to be feared that 
even more fantastic irrational mass reactions and even more deadly social catastrophes 
will result someday, if the responsible sociologists and psychologists fail to put off their 
grandiloquent academicism before it is too late, take an active part in the course of events 
and make an honest effort to help clarify them. There has been a fundamental shift in the 
line of questioning of sociology from economics to the structure of the masses of people. 

We no longer ask if the economic preconditions of work-democratic internationalism 
have reached maturity. Now we are faced with a question of greater magnitude: Assuming 
fully matured international socio-economic conditions, what obstacles could again 
prevent the idea of internationalism from taking root and developing in man’s structure 
and ideology? How can the social irresponsibility and propensity for authority on the 
part of the masses be overcome before it is too late? How can this second international 
war, which is rightfully referred to as a war in which ideological rather than economic 
issues are at stake, be prevented from decaying into a new, even more brutal, even more 
deadly nationalistic, chauvinistic, fascistic-dictatorial nationalism? Political reaction lives 
and operates within the human structure and in the thinking and acting of the suppressed 
masses in the form of character armour, fear of responsibility, incapacity for freedom 
and, last but not least, as an endemic crippling of biologic functioning. These are grave 
facts. The fate of future centuries depends upon our ability or inability to cope with them 
in a natural scientific way. All leading circles have an enormous responsibility. Not a 
single one of these decisive tasks can be solved with political chatter and formalities. Our 
basic slogan, ‘Enough! No more politics! Let’s get down to the vital social issues!’ is not 
a play on words. Nothing is more staggering than the fact that a world population of two 
billion people does not muster the energy to eliminate a handful of suppressors and 
biopathic warmongers. Man’s intensive desire for freedom fails to become a reality 
owing to the many views as to how freedom can be best achieved without also assuming 
the direct responsibility for the painful readjustment of the human structure and its social 

The anarchists (i.e., the syndicalists) strove to achieve social self-government, but 
they refused to take cognizance of the profound problem of the human incapacity for 
freedom, and they rejected all guidance of social development. They were Utopians and 
they went’ down in Spain. They saw only the intense desire for freedom, but they 
confounded this intense desire with the actual capacity to be free and the ability to work 
and live without authoritarian leadership. They rejected the party system, but they were at 
a loss to say how the enslaved masses of people were to learn to govern their lives by 
themselves. Not much is accomplished by solely hating the state. Nor with nudist 
colonies. The problem is deeper and more serious. 

The international Christians preached peace, brotherhood, .compassion, and mutual 
help. Ideologically, they were anti-capitalist, and they conceived of human existence in 
international terms. Basically, their ideas were in accord with international socialism, and 
they called themselves, e.g., in Austria, Christian Socialists. Yet, concretely speaking, 
they rejected and continue to reject every step of social development that moves precisely 
towards that goal that they have proclaimed to be their ideal. Catholic Christianity in 
particular has long since divested itself of the revolutionary, i.e., rebellious, character of 
the primitive Christian movement. It seduces its millions of devotees into accepting war 
as an act of fate, as a ‘punishment of sin’. Wars are indeed the consequences of sins, but 
entirely different sins from those conceived of by Catholicism. For the Catholics, 
peaceful existence is possible only in heaven. The Catholic Church’ preaches the 
acceptance of distress in this world and thereby systematically ruins man’s ability to 
achieve the goal of freedom, to fight for it in an honest way. It does not protest when its 
rival churches, the Greek Orthodox churches, are bombed; but it importunes God and 
culture when bombs fall on Rome. Catholicism produces structural helplessness in 

masses of people with the result that, instead of relying upon their own strength and self- 
confidence when they are in distress, they call upon God for help. Catholicism makes the 
human structure both incapable and afraid of pleasure. A good portion of human sadism 
derives from this. German Catholics give their blessings to German weapons and 
American Catholics give their blessings to American weapons. One and the same God is 
supposed to lead two arch enemies to victory in war. The irrational absurdity of this is 

Social Democracy, which followed the Bernsteinian adaptation of Marxian sociology, 
also failed on the question of mass structure. It lived, as did Christianity and anarchy, on 
the compromise of the masses between strivings after happiness and irresponsibility. 
Thus it offered the masses a hazy ideology, an ‘education in socialism’, which was not 
backed up by a strong and genuine tackling of concrete life-tasks. They dreamed of social 
democracy, but they refused to understand that the structure of masses of people would 
have to undergo basic changes to become capable of being social democratic and of 
living in a ‘social democratic’ way. In actual practice it had no inkling of the idea that the 
public schools, trade schools, kindergartens, etc., had to operate on a self-regulatory 
basis. Moreover, it failed to realize that every reactionary tendency - including those in 
one’s own camp - had to be countered sharply and objectively, that, finally, the term 
‘freedom’ had to be imbued with a concrete content to bring about social democracy. It 
would be far more sensible to use all one’s forces against fascist reaction while one is in 
power than to develop the courage to do so only after one has relinquished it. In many 
European countries Social Democracy had all the necessary power at its disposal to 
dethrone the patriarchal power in and outside of man, a power that had been 
accumulating over thousands of years and finally celebrated its most bloody triumph in 
the fascist ideology. 

Social Democracy made the fatal mistake of assuming that those who had been 
crippled by thousands of years of patriarchal power were capable of democracy without 
any further preliminaries and were capable of governing themselves. Officially, it 
rejected the rigorous scientific efforts - those of Freud, for instance - to comprehend 
man’s complicated structure. Hence, it was forced to assume dictatorial forms within its 
own ranks and to make compromises outside of them. We can understand a compromise 
in the good sense of the word, i.e., the awareness that the viewpoint of the other person, 
the opponent, has to be understood and agreed with where it is superior to one’s own 
viewpoint; but there is no justification for a compromise in which principles are sacri- 
ficed for fear of precipitating a confrontation. In the latter, rash efforts are often made ‘to 
get along’ with an arch enemy bent on murder. Unadulterated Chamberlainism existed in 
the camp of socialism. 

In ideology, Social Democracy was radical; in actual practice, it was conservative. A 
phrase such as ‘His Royal Highness and Majesty’s socialist opposition’ shows how 
ludicrous its position often was. Without intending to, it helped fascism, for the fascism 
of the masses is nothing other than disappointed radicalism plus nationalistic ‘petty 
bourgeoisism’ . Social Democracy foundered on the contradictory structure of the masses, 
a structure that it did not understand. It cannot be denied that the bourgeois governments 
of Europe had a democratic orientation, but in practice they were conservative 
administrative bodies, which were averse to freedom efforts based on fundamental 
scientific knowledge. The enormous influence of the capitalist market economy and of 

profit interests far exceeded all other interests. The bourgeois democracies of Europe 
separated themselves from their original revolutionary character of the 1 848 years 
much more quickly and thoroughly than Christianity separated itself from its 
revolutionary character. Liberal measures were a kind of decorum, a voucher that one 
was after all ‘democratic’. None of these governments would have been able to state how 
the enslaved masses of people were to be extricated from their condition of blind 
acceptance and craving for authority. They had all the power in their hands, but social 
self-government and self-regulation was a book with seven seals to it. In such 
government circles it was impossible even to hint at the basic problem, i.e., the sexual 
question of the masses. The extolling of the Austrian Dollfuss government as a model of 
democratic administration bears witness to a complete lack of social awareness. 

The powerful capitalists who emerged from the bourgeois revolution in Europe had a 
great deal of social power in their hands. They had the influence to determine who should 
govern. Basically, they acted in a short-sighted and self-damaging way. With the help of 
their power and their means, they could have spurred human society to unprecedented 
social achievements. I am not referring to the building of palaces, churches, museums and 
theatres. I mean the practical realisation of their concept of culture. Instead, they 
completely alienated themselves from those who had but one commodity to sell, their 
working power. In their hearts they held ‘the people’ in contempt. They were petty, 
limited, cynical, contemptuous, avaricious and very often unscrupulous. In Germany they 
helped Hitler to obtain power. They proved themselves to be completely unworthy of the 
role society had relegated them to. They abused their role, instead of using it to guide and 
educate the masses of people. They were not even capable of checking the dangers that 
threatened their own cultural system. As a social class they deteriorated more and more. 
Insofar as they themselves were familiar with the processes of work and achievement, 
they understood the democratic freedom movements. But they did nothing to help them. 

It was ostentation and not knowledge that they encouraged. The encouragement of the 
arts and sciences was once in the hands of the feudal lords, whom the bourgeoisie later 
dethroned. But the bourgeois capitalists had far less of an objective interest in art and 
science than the leading aristocracy had had. While in 1848 the sons of the bourgeois 
capitalists bled to death at the barricades, fighting for democratic ideals, the sons of the 
bourgeois capitalists between 1920 and 1930 used the university platforms to deride 
democratic demonstrations. Later, they were the elite troops of fascist chauvinism. To be 
sure, they had fulfilled their function of opening up the world economically, but they 
stifled their own accomplishment with the institution of tariffs and they had not the least 
notion of what to do with the internationalism that originated from their economic 
accomplishment. They aged rapidly, and as a social class they became senile. 

This assessment of the so-called economic magnates does not derive from an ideology. 
I come from these circles and know them well. I am happy to have rid myself of their 

Fascism grew out of the conservatism of the Social Democrats on the one hand and 
the narrow-mindedness and senility of the capitalists on the other hand. It did not embody 
those ideals that had been advocated by its predecessors in a practical way, but solely in 
an ideological way (and this was the only thing that mattered to the masses of people 
whose psychic structures were ridden with illusions). It included the most brutal political 
reaction, the same political reaction that had devastated human life and property in the 

middle Ages. It paid tribute to so-called native tradition in a mystical and brutal way, 
which had nothing to do with a genuine feeling for one’s native country and attachment 
to the soil. By calling itself’ socialist’ and ‘revolutionary’, it took over the unfulfilled 
functions of the socialists. By dominating industrial magnates, it took over capitalism. 
From now on, the achievement of ‘socialism’ was entrusted to an all-powerful fuhrer who 
had been sent by God. The powerlessness and helplessness of the masses of people gave 
impetus to this fuhrer ideology, which had been implanted in man’s structure by the 
authoritarian school and nourished by the church and compulsive family. The ‘salvation 
of the nation’ by an all-powerful fuhrer who had been sent by God was in complete 
accord with the intense desire of the masses for salvation. Incapable of conceiving of 
themselves as having a different nature, their subservient structure eagerly imbibed the 
idea of man’s immutability and of the ‘natural division of humanity into the few who lead 
and the many who are led’. Now the responsibility rested in the hands of a strong man. In 
fascism or wherever else it is encountered, this fascist fuhrer ideology rests upon the 
mystical hereditary idea of man’s immutable nature, upon the helplessness, craving for 
authority, and incapacity for freedom of the masses of people. Admitted that the formula, 
‘Man requires leadership and discipline’, ‘authority and order’, can be justified in terms 
of man’s present anti-social structure, the attempt to eternalize this structure and to hold it 
to be immutable is reactionary. The fascist ideology had the best of intentions. Those who 
did not recognize this subjective honesty failed altogether to comprehend fascism and its 
attraction for the masses. Since the problem of the human structure was never brought up 
or discussed, let alone mastered, the idea of a non-authoritarian, self-regulatory society 
was looked upon as chimerical and Utopian. 

It was precisely at this point, in the period between 1850 and 1917, that the critique 
and constructive policies of the founders of the Russian Revolution made a start. Lenin’s 
standpoint was this: Social Democracy had failed; the masses cannot achieve freedom 
spontaneously on their own volition. They need a leadership that is constructed along 
hierarchical lines and acts authoritatively on the surface, but at the same time has a strict 
democratic structure internally. Lenin’s communism is always conscious of its task: The 
‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ is that social form that leads from an authoritarian society 
to a non-authoritarian, self-regulatory social order requiring neither police force nor 
compulsive morality. 

Basically, the Russian Revolution of 1917 was a politico-ideological revolution and 
not a purely social revolution. It was based on political ideas which derived from politics 
and economics and not from the science of man. We have to have a thorough 
comprehension of Lenin’s sociological theory and his accomplishment to understand the 
weak spots that later made possible the authoritarian totalitarian technique of the Russian 
mass leadership. It is necessary to stress that the founders of the Russian Revolution had 
no inkling of the biopathic nature of the masses of people. But then no reasonable person 
expects that social and individual freedom lie ready-made in the desk drawer of the 
revolutionary thinker and politician. Every new social effort is based on the errors and 
omissions of earlier sociologists and revolutionary leaders. Lenin’s theory of the 
‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ embodied a number of preconditions for the establishment 
of a genuine social democracy - but by no means all of them. It pursued the goal of a self- 
governing human society. It held the view that present-day man is not capable of 
achieving social revolution without an organisation constructed along hierarchical lines 

and that the enormous social tasks cannot be accomplished without authoritarian 
discipline and loyalty. As Lenin conceived it, the dictatorship of the proletariat was to 
become the authority that had to be created to abolish every kind of authority. In the 
beginning it was fundamentally different from the fascist ideology of dictatorship in that 
// set itself the task of undermining itself that is to say, of replacing the authoritarian 
government of society by social self-regulation. 

In addition to establishing the economic preconditions for social democracy, the 
dictatorship of the proletariat had the task of effecting a basic change in man’s structure 
by means of a complete industrialization and technicalization of production and 
commerce. Granted that Lenin himself did not speak of it in these terms, the effecting of 
basic change in man’s structure was an essential and integral part of his sociological 
theory. According to Lenin’s conception the social revolution had the task not only of 
eliminating surface formality and actual conditions of servitude, but also, and essentially, 
of making men and women incapable of being exploited. 

The creation of the economic preconditions of social democracy, i.e., socialist-planned 
economy, proved in the course of time to be a trifle compared with the task of effecting a 
basic change in the character structure of the masses. To understand the victory of 
fascism and the nationalistic development of the Soviet Union, one must first 
comprehend the full magnitude of this problem. 

The first act of Lenin’s programme, the establishment of the ‘dictatorship of the 
proletariat’, was a success. The state apparatus that developed consisted entirely of the 
sons of workers and peasants. Descendants of the former feudal and upper classes were 

The second and most important act, the replacement of the proletarian state 
apparatus by social self-administration, failed to materialise. In 1944, twenty-seven 
years after the victory of the Russian Revolution, there is still no sign that points to the 
implementation of the second, genuinely democratic act of the Revolution. The Russian 
people are ruled by a dictatorial one-party system with an authoritarian fuhrer at the top. 

How was this possible? Had Stalin ‘defrauded’, ‘betrayed’, the Leninian revolution - 
had he ‘usurped power’? 

Let us see what happened. 


The pursuance of a socially and historically impossible goal is at variance with the 
scientific view of the world. It is not the task of science to concoct systems and to chase 
after fantastic dreams of a ‘better future’, but solely to comprehend development as it 
really takes place, to recognize its contradictions, and to help those forces that are 
progressive and revolutionary to achieve victory, to solve difficulties and to make it 
possible for human society to become master of the conditions of its existence. The 
‘better future’ can become a reality only when its social preconditions are present and the 
structure of the masses of people is capable of utilizing these conditions to its own best 
advantage, i.e., is capable of assuming social responsibility. 

Let us begin by summarizing Marx’s and Engels’ views on the development of a 
‘communist society’. In this we will follow the basic writings and expositions on 
Marxism that Lenin published in the period between March of 1917 and the October 
Revolution in State and Revolution. 

Engels and Lenin on Self-government 

In his most popular work, The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State, 
Engels destroyed the belief in the ‘absolute and eternal state’ - in our context, the belief 
in the indispensability of the authoritarian leadership of society. On the basis of 
investigations made by Lewis Morgan on the organization of the pagan society, Engels 
came to the conclusion: The state was not here from all eternity. There have been 
societies that functioned without it, that had no trace of state and state power. When 
society began to split up into classes, when the opposition between the emerging classes 
threatened to undermine the existence of the society as a whole, a state power developed 
of necessity. Society rapidly approached a stage of development in production at which 
the existence of classes not only ceased to be a necessity but, over and above this, became 
a direct hindrance to the development of production. ‘They [the classes] will disappear 
just as inevitably as they once appeared. With them, the state will also disappear 
inevitably. That society that reorganizes production on the basis of free and equal 
association of those who produce will relegate the entire machinery of the state to where 
it belongs: the museum of antiquity, beside the spinning wheel and the bronze axe [my 
italics, WR].’ 

Voluntary association and self-government of social life prevail in pagan society. The 
state came into being with the emergence of classes ‘to keep the opposition between 
classes in check’ and to safeguard the continuation of society. Soon and ‘as a rule’ the 
state entered the service of the ‘most powerful, economically superior class, which, 
owing to this, also became the ruling class politically’, and thereby acquired new means 
of dominating and exploiting the suppressed classes. What will take the place of state, 
authoritarian leadership from above and obedience from below, if the social revolution is 
victorious ” ? 

Engels gives us a picture of the transition to a new social order. To begin with ‘the 
proletariat seizes state power’ and transforms the means of production into state property. 
In so doing, it annuls itself as a proletariat, annuls the opposition between classes and 
also the state as a state' . Until then the state was the official representative of the society 
as a whole, its condensation in a visible body; but it was this only insofar as it was the 
state of that class that acted as the representative of society as a whole for its time. In 
antiquity it was the state of slave-owning citizens; in the Middle Ages, the state of the 
feudalists, and later that of the bourgeoisie. If the state should one day really become the 
representative of society as a whole, then it makes itself superfluous. Engels’ formulation 
is easily understood if the state is regarded as that which it had become. It was no longer 
a bond that held together the class society, but an instrument used by the economically 
superior class to dominate the economically weaker class. As soon as there is no longer 
any social class to be held in suppression and as soon as class rule and the struggle for 
individual existence - a struggle that originates in the anarchy of production -are 
eliminated along with the resulting excesses and clashes, there is no longer anything to 

be suppressed that would necessitate a special suppressive power such as the state. The 
first act in which the state appears as the representative of the society as a whole, namely 
the take-over of the means of production in the name of the society, is also its last 
independent act as a ‘state’. From now on, ‘the intervention of a state power in social 
relations ... will become superfluous in one sphere after the other until it dies out by itself 
The government over people is replaced by the administration of things and the 
management of production processes. The state is not ‘abolished’; it ‘withers away’. 

Lenin elucidated this idea in State and Revolution and stressed it again and again: In 
the beginning the capitalist state (state apparatus) will not merely be taken over or only 
changed. It will be ‘annihilated’, and the capitalist state apparatus, the capitalist police, 
capitalist officialdom and bureaucracy, will be replaced by the ‘power apparatus of the 
proletariat’ and the peasants and workers allied with it. This apparatus is still a 
suppressive apparatus, but now a majority of producers will no longer be suppressed by a 
minority of those in possession of capital. Instead, the minority, those who had formerly 
wielded power, will be held in check by the majority, the working people. This is what is 
known as:’ dictatorship of the proletariat*. 

Thus, the withering away of the state described by Engels is preceded by the abolition 
of the capitalist state apparatus and the establishment of the ‘revolutionary-proletarian 
state apparatus’. Lenin also went into great detail to point out why this transition in the 
form of the dictatorship of the proletariat is ‘necessary’ and ‘indispensable’, and why a 
direct realization of a non-authoritarian, free society and ‘true social democracy’ is not 
possible. The social democratic slogan ‘free republic’ was criticized as claptrap by both 
Engels and Lenin. The proletarian dictatorship serves as a transition from the previous 
social form to the desired ‘communist’ form. The character of the transitional phase can 
be comprehended only in terms of the final goals towards which the society aspires. 
These final goals are capable of being compassed only insofar as they have already 
become visibly developed in the womb of the old society. Examples of such final goals in 
the organization of a communist society are ‘voluntary respect’ for the rules of social 
cohabitation, the establishment of & free ‘community’ in place of the state (of the 
proletarian state also) as soon as the function of the latter has been fulfilled; in addition, 
efforts are made to achieve ‘self-administration’ in industries, schools, factories, 
transportation organizations, etc. In short, what is aimed at is the organization of a ‘new 
generation’ which, reared under new, free social conditions, will be capable of jettisoning 
the entire trumpery of the state ... ‘the democratic -republican included (Engels].’ To the 
extent to which the state ‘withers away’, a ‘free organization’ derives from it in which, as 
Marx postulated, ‘the free development of each individual’ becomes the basic condition 
of the ‘free development of everyone’. 

In this connection two very important questions arose for the Soviet Union: 

1. The ‘organization of a free generation in a free self-administrative community’ 
cannot be ‘created’. It has to ‘grow out’ of the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ (in the 
form of the ‘gradual withering away of the state’), must reach a state of development and 
ripeness in this transitional phase, in the same way that the ‘dictatorship of the 
proletariat’ developed out of the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie - the ‘democratic’ 
bourgeoisie included - as a temporary form of state. Was there a ‘withering away of the 

state’ and a gradual realisation of a free, self-administrative community in the Soviet 
Union between 1930 and 1934 - and how was this evident? 

2. If so, what was the nature of this ‘withering away of the state’, and what were the 
concrete, tangible and guidable indications of the ‘development of the new generation’? 
If this was not the case: Why didn’t the state wither away? How were the forces that 
sustained the ‘proletarian state’ related to the other forces that represented the withering 
away of the state? What kept the state from withering away? 

Neither in Marx’s nor in Engels’ and Lenin’s writings are these possible outcomes 
dealt with. In 1935 they were urgent questions. They demanded an immediate answer. Is 
the state in the Soviet Union in the process of withering away? If not, why not? 

In contrast to the authoritarian order of the state, the essence of work-democracy can 
be described as social self-government. Quite obviously, a society that is to consist of free 
individuals’, to constitute a ‘free community’ and to administrate itself, i.e., ‘govern 
itself, cannot be suddenly created by decrees. It has to evolve organically. And it can 
create all the preconditions for the desired condition in an organic way only when it has 
succeeded in creating a freedom of movement, that is to say, when it has freed itself of 
those influences that are in opposition to such a condition. The first precondition towards 
this end is knowledge of the natural organisation of work, the biologic and sociologic 
preconditions of work-democracy. The founders of socialism were not aware of the 
biologic preconditions. The social preconditions were related to a period (1840 to around 
1920) in which there was only capitalistic private enterprise on the one hand and masses 
of wage earners on the other hand. There was still no politically oriented middle class to 
speak of, no development towards j/a/s-capitalism, and there were no masses to be joined 
together in a reactionary way to carry National Socialism to victory. Hence, the picture 
that emerged was related more to 1850 than it was to 1940. 

In Engels’ writing, the difference between the ‘seizure of power by the proletariat’, 
i.e., the establishment of the ‘proletarian state’, and the ‘cessation of the state altogether’, 
is not clearly worked out as it is in Lenin’s writings. This is understandable, for Engels, 
unlike Lenin, was not faced with the immediate task of making a sharp distinction 
between the two stages. In 1917, on the threshold of the seizure of power, Lenin had to 
attach a greater importance to the ‘period of transition’ than Engels had. Lenin 
determined the tasks of the period of transition more definitively. 

To begin with, he demanded that the institution of the ‘bourgeois’ state be replaced by 
the proletarian state, i.e., a fundamentally different kind’ of state leadership. What was 
fundamentally ‘different’ about the proletarian state? With the abolition of the bourgeois 
state, Lenin said, it will be necessary to convert the bourgeois form of democracy into a 
proletarian democracy with the ‘greatest conceivable completeness and consistency ‘, to 
convert the state as a special power for the purpose of suppressing a certain class into an 
institution ‘which is no longer a real state’. When the majority of the population sup- 
presses its own suppressors, then a special repressive power is no longer necessary. In 
short, Lenin was not content with a sham, purely formal democracy. He wanted the 
people to determine production, distribution of products, social regulations, increase of 
population, education, sex, international relations, etc., in a living and concrete way. And 
this was the essence of that which Lenin, in accordance with Marx and Engels, so 
forcefully and repeatedly stressed as the ‘withering away of the state’ .’ In place of special 

institutions,’ Lenin wrote, ‘in place of a minority having special privileges (officials, staff 
of command of the standing army), the majority itself will take care of these things, and 
the greater the entire people ’s share in the carrying out of the functions of the state 
power , the less it has need of this power. ’ 

Lenin did not equate ‘state’ and ‘bourgeoisie rule’ in any way, otherwise he would not 
have been able to speak of a ‘state’ after the ‘defeat of the bourgeoisie’. Lenin conceived 
of the state as the sum of ‘institutions’, which had been in the service of the ruling class, 
the monied bourgeoisie, but now disappeared from their position ‘above the society’ to 
that extent to which the majority of th. & people themselves took care of the business of 
social administration (‘ self-administration’). Thus, the withering away of the state, the 
evolution towards social self-government, is to be measured by the extent to which those 
organizations that have become autonomous and stand above the society are gradually 
abolished and the extent to which the masses, the majority of the population, are 
included in the administration, i.e., ‘self-government of the society’. 

The Communes will replace the corrupt and rotten parliamentarianism of the 
bourgeois society by public bodies in which freedom of opinion and discussion do not 
degenerate into deception, for the members of parliament have to do their own work, 
implement their own laws, and check the results themselves. Representative bodies 
continue to exist, but parliamentarianism as a special system, as a division between 
legislative and executive activity, as a privileged position for members of parliament, 
does not exist here. Without representative bodies, we cannot conceive of a democracy 
[i.e., the phase preceding communism], not even proletarian democracy. We can and 
must conceive of it without parliamentarianism. If our criticism of bourgeois society is 
not to be a hollow phrase; if our efforts to overthrow the bourgeoisie ruler-ship is to be 
honest and serious - and not just an’ election’ slogan to catch the workers’ votes... 

[State and Revolution] 

Hence, we see that a sharp distinction is drawn between ‘representative bodies’ and 
‘parliaments’. The former are affirmed and the latter are rejected. Nothing is said about 
what these bodies represent and how they represent. We will see that it was this crucial 
lacuna in Lenin’s theory of the state that enabled tatter-day ‘Stalinism’ to establish its 
state power. 

The representative bodies, called ‘Soviets’ in the Soviet Union, which had evolved 
from the workers’, peasants’ and soldiers’ councils, were supposed, on the one hand, to 
take over the function of the bourgeois parliament by transforming it from a ‘chatter 
hovel’ (Marx’s term) into a working body. It is evident from Lenin’s train of thought that 
this very transformation of the character of the representative bodies implies a change in 
the representative himself. He ceases to be a ‘chatterbox’ and becomes a functionary who 
works out and carries out plans and is responsible to the people. On the other hand, they 
are not stagnant institutions. They are constantly growing. More and more members of 
the population are included in the functions of social administration. And this self- 
administration of the society, i.e., the performing of the social functions by the people 
themselves, will be that much more complete, the greater the number of people who 
participate in it. At the same time this means that the less the Soviets are elected 
‘representatives’, the more the total population takes over those functions that determine 
and carry out social planning. For until then the Soviets themselves are still more or less 

isolated from the society as a whole, notwithstanding the fact that they are organs and 
bodies that evolved from the society itself. It is also clear from Lenin’s conception that 
the proletarian representative bodies serve transitional functions. They are conceived of 
as mediators between the ‘proletarian state power’, which is still necessary, still in. 
operation, but already withering, and the self-government of society, which is not yet an 
accomplished fact, not yet fully capable of functioning by if self. It is a self-government 
which still has to be fully developed. The Soviets can either coincide more and more with 
the society as a whole, which is developing towards self-government, or they can become 
mere appendages and executive organs of the proletarian state power. They operate 
between two forces: one power that is still a state power and a new social system of self- 
government. What is it that determines whether the Soviets fulfil their progressive 
revolutionary function, or whether they deteriorate into hollow, purely formalistic fabrics 
of a state administrative body? Apparently, it is determined by the following: 

1. Whether the proletarian state power remains true to its function of gradually 
eliminating itself; 

2. Whether the Soviets regard themselves not only as the helpmates and executive 
organs of the proletarian state power, but also as its surveillant and as that institution, so 
heavily saddled with responsibility, that transfers the function of social leadership more 
and more from the proletarian state power to the society as a whole; 

3. Whether the individual members of the masses increasingly measure up to their 
tasks of gradually and continually taking over the functions of the still operative state 
apparatus as well as those of the Soviets, insofar as the latter are only ‘representatives’ 
of the masses. 

This third point is the decisive one, for upon its fulfilment depends the ‘withering 
away of the state’ in the Soviet Union, as well as the take-over of the functions of the 
Soviets by the working masses of people. 

Hence, the dictatorship of the proletariat is not intended as a permanent condition but 
as a process, which is to begin with the destruction of the authoritarian state apparatus 
and the establishment of the proletarian state and to end with total self-administration, the 
self-government of the society. 

To arrive at an accurate appraisal of the course of the social process, one has to study 
the function and development of the Soviets. The course of this process cannot be 
concealed by any illusions if one considers the following: It is not a question whether 90 
per cent of the population participates in the elections of the Soviet bodies, as compared 
with 60 per cent formerly, but whether the Soviet voters (not the Soviet representatives) 
also assume more and more of an actual part in social leadership. A ’90 per cent election 
turnout’ is not proof of a progressive development towards social self-government, if 
only because it tells us nothing about the substance of the activity of the masses, and, 
moreover, is not solely characteristic of the Soviet system. The bourgeois democracies, 
indeed even the fascist ‘plebiscites’, showed ‘election turnouts of 90 per cent and more’. 

It is an essential part of work-democracy to assess the social maturity of a community, 
not in terms of quantity of votes but in terms of the actual, tangible substance of 
its social activity. 

Thus, we always come back to the cardinal question of every social order: What is 
taking place in the masses of the population ? How do they experience the social process 
to which they are subject? 

Will the war king population become capable, and how will it become capable of 
causing the withering away of the authoritarian state, which rises above and against the 
society, and taking over its functions, i.e., developing social self-government organically? 

Apparently, this is the question Lenin had in mind when he made it clear that a 
complete elimination of bureaucracy in all spheres all at once was impossible, but that the 
old, bureaucratic apparatus would certainly have to be replaced by a new one, ‘which 
gradually makes every bureaucracy superfluous and abolishes it’. ‘This is not a Utopia,’ 
Lenin wrote, ‘this is borne out by the experience of the commune. It is the immediate task 
of the revolutionary proletariat.’ Lenin did not discuss why the ‘abolition of bureaucracy’ 
was not a Utopian aspiration, nor how life without bureaucracy, without leadership ‘from 
above’, was not only by all means possible and necessary but, what was more, was the 
‘immediate task of the revolutionary proletariat’. 

Lenin’s emphasis can be understood only if one bears in mind man’s (and most of his 
leaders’) deeply ingrained, seemingly ineradicable belief in the infantilism of the masses, 
above all, the belief in the impossibility of getting along without authoritarian leadership. 
‘Self-administration’, ‘self-government’, ‘non-authoritarian discipline’ - such new con- 
cepts, in view of fascism, only evoked an indulgent smile of contempt! The dreams of 
anarchists! Utopian! Chimerical! Indeed, these shouters and sneerers could even point to 
the Soviet Union, to Stalin’s statement that the abolition of the state was out of the 
question, that, on the contrary, the power of the proletarian state had to be strengthened 
and extended. Lenin had been wrong after all, then! Man is and remains a subservient 
being. Without authority and coercion he will not work, but merely ‘indulge his pleasures 
and be lazy’. Don’t waste your time and energy with empty chimera! But if this was so, 
then an official correction of Lenin’s ideas was to be demanded from the state leadership 
of the Soviet Union. It would have to show that Lenin had erred when he wrote the 

We are not Utopians. We do not ‘dream’ about how we can get along without any 
administration, without any subordination all at once. These anarchistic dreams, which 
are based on a misunderstanding of the tasks of the dictatorship of the proletariat, are 
foreign to the nature of Marxism. In reality, they merely serve to put off the socialist 
revolution to a time when men will have become different. No, we have to carry out the 
socialist revolution with people as they are now, that is to say, with people who will not 
be able to get along without subordination, control, ‘managers and bookkeepers’ . . . But 
one has to subordinate oneself to the armed avant-garde of all those who have been 
exploited, to the workers, the proletariat. What is specifically ‘bureaucratic’ in 
government offices can and must be replaced by the simple functions of ‘managers and 
bookkeepers’? Work on this must begin immediately, from one day to the next. . . 
Workers, we ourselves shall organic the large industries; we shall organize them on the 
basis of our own experience; we shall take over where capitalism left off; we shall create 
a strict, iron discipline, which will be maintained by the state power of the armed 
workers; we shall convert the state officials into simple executors of our instructions; we 
shall convert them into responsible, replaceable, modestly paid ‘managers and 

bookkeepers’ . . . that is our proletarian task. With this we can and must begin the 
implementation of the proletarian revolution. Such a beginning on the basis of large 
industries will automatically lead to a gradual withering away of every form of 
bureaucracy, to the gradual creation of a new order without quotation marks, an order 
which will have nothing to do with wage-slavery [my italics, WR], We will create an 
order in which the functions of management and rendering of accounts will become more 
and more simplified and will be performed by the people themselves on a rotation basis. 
As time goes on, these functions will become a habit and finally disappear altogether as 
special functions of a special class of people. 

[State and Revolution] 

Lenin failed to see the dangers of the new state bureaucracy. Apparently, he believed 
that the proletarian bureaucrats would not abuse their power, would stick to the truth, 
would teach the working people to be independent. He failed to take into account the 
abysmal biopathy of the human structure. Indeed, he had no notion of it. 

Sociologic literature has paid far too little regard to the fact that in his main work on 
the revolution, Lenin did not devote most of his attention to the ‘overthrow of the 
bourgeoisie’ but to the subsequent tasks: the replacement of the capitalistic state 
apparatus by a proletarian apparatus and the replacement of the proletarian dictatorship 
(social democracy = proletarian democracy) by the self-government of the society, which 
was supposed to be the outstanding characteristic of communism. If one paid special heed 
to Soviet literature from 1937 on, one saw that it was the strengthening (not the 
loosening) of the power of the proletarian state apparatus that took priority over all other 
efforts. There was no longer any talk of the necessity of its eventual replacement by self- 
administration. To understand the Soviet Union, however, it is precisely this point that is 
of decisive importance. Obviously, Lenin had good reason for discussing it in detail in his 
main work on the Revolution. It was, is, and will continue to be the living nerve system 
of every genuine social democracy. It was not and is not mentioned by any politician. 

the programme of the communist party 

of the soviet union (eighth party congress, 1919) 

Under Lenin, Russian despotism was transformed into Russian ‘social democracy’. 
The programme of the Communist party of the Soviet Union of 1919, two years after the 
Revolution, is proof of the genuine democratic character of its efforts. It demands a state 
power, which is to ward off a return of despotism and is to guarantee the establishment of 
the free, self-administration of the masses of people. But it contains no hint of the nature 
of the incapacity for freedom of the masses ofpeoph. It has no knowledge of the biopathic 
degeneration of man’s sexual structure. The revolutionary sexual laws that were enacted 
between 1917 and 1920 were in the right direction, i.e., they were recognition of man’s 
biologic functions. But they got stuck in legal formalism. I made an effort to demonstrate 
this in Part II of my book Die Sexualitat im Kultu rka tnpf'iyify. It was on this issue that 
the reconstruction of the human structure foundered, and with it the fulfilment of the 
democratic programme. This catastrophe of an enormous social effort should be a lesson 
to every new democratic revolutionary effort: No programme advocating freedom has 
any chance of success unless a basic change is also effected in man’s present biopathic 
sexual structure. 

The following is an excerpt from the programme of the Eighth Party Congress of the 
Communist party of the Soviet Union. 

1. A bourgeois republic, even the most democratic, sanctified by such watchwords as 
‘will of the people’, ‘will of the nation’, ‘no class privilege’, remains in fact, owing to the 
existence of private property in land and other means of production, the dictatorship of 
the bourgeoisie, an instrument for exploitation and oppression of the broad masses of 
workers by a small group of capitalists. In opposition to this, proletarian or Soviet 
democracy transformed mass organi2ations precisely of the classes oppressed by 
capitalism, of proletarian and poorest peasantry or semi-proletarian, i.e., the vast majority 
of the population, into a single and permanent basis of the state apparatus, local and 
central. By this act, the Soviet State realised among other things local and regional 
autonomy withou t the appoin tment of authorities from above, on a much wider scale than 
is practised any where. M The aim of the Party is to exert the greatest efforts in order to 
realize fully this highest type of democracy, which to function accurately requires a 
continually rising standard of culture, organisation and activity on the part of the masses. 

2. In contrast to bourgeois democracy, which concealed the class character of the state, 
the Soviet authority openly acknowledges that every state must inevitably bear a class 
character” until the division of society into classes has been abolished and all 
government authority disappears. By its very nature, the Soviet state directs itself to the 
suppression of the resistance of the exploiters, and the Soviet constitution does not stop 
short of depriving the exploiters of their political rights, bearing in mind that any kind of 
freedom is a deception if it is opposed to the emancipation of labour from the yoke of 
capital. The aim of the Party of the proletariat consists in carrying on a determined 
suppression of the resistance of the exploiters, in struggling against the deeply rooted 
prejudices concerning the absolute character of bourgeois rights and freedom, and at the 
same time explaining that deprivation of political rights and any kind of limitation of 
freedom are necessary as temporary measures in order to defeat the attempts of the 
exploiters to retain or to re-establish their privileges. With the disappearance of the 
possibility of the exploitation of one human being by another, the necessity for these 
measures will also gradually disappear and the Party will aim to reduce and completely 
abolish them. 

3. Bourgeois democracy has limited itself to formally extending political rights and 
freedom, such as the right of combination, freedom of speech, freedom of press, equality 
of citizenship. In practice, however, particularly in view of the economic slavery o£ the 
working masses, it was impossible for the workers to enjoy these rights and privileges to 
any great extent under bourgeois democracy. 

Proletarian democracy on the contrary, instead of formally proclaiming those rights 
and freedoms, actually grants them first of all to those classes which have been 
oppressed by capitalism, i.e., to the proletariat and to the peasantry. For that purpose the 
Soviet state expropriates premises, printing offices, supplies of paper, etc., from the 
bourgeoisie, placing these at the disposal of the working masses and their organizations. 
The aim of the All-Russian Communist Party is to encourage the working masses to 
enjoy democratic rights and liberties, and to offer them every opportunity for doing so. 

4. Bourgeois democracy through the ages proclaimed equality of persons, irrespective 
of religion, race or nationality and the equality of the sexes, but capitalism prevented the 

realization of this equality and in its imperialist stage developed race and national 
suppression. The Soviet Government, by being the authority of the toilers, for the first 
time in history could in all spheres of life realize this equality, destroying the last traces 
of woman’s inequality in the sphere of marriage and the family. At the present moment 
the work of the Party is principally intellectual and educational with the aim of abolishing 
the last traces of former inequality and prejudices, especially among the backward 
sections of the proletariat and peasantry. 

The Party’s aim is not to limit itself to the formal proclamation of woman’s equality, 
but to liberate woman from all the burdens of antiquated methods of housekeeping, by 
replacing them by house-communes, public kitchens, central laundries, nurseries, etc. 

5. The Soviet Government, guaranteeing to the working masses incomparably more 
opportunities to vote and to recall their delegates, in the most easy and accessible 
manner, than they possessed under bourgeois democracy and parliamentarianism, at the 
same time abolishes all the negative features of parliamentarianism, especially the 
separation of legislative and executive powers, the isolation of the representative 
institutions from the masses, etc. 

In the Soviet state not a territorial district, but a productive unit ( factory , mill) forms 
the electoral unit and the unit of the state. The state apparatus is thus brought near to the 

The aim of the Party consists in endeavouring to bring the Government apparatus v into 
still closer contact with the masses, for the purpose of realizing democracy more fully and 
strictly in practice, by making Government officials responsible to, and placing them 
under, the con trol of the masses. 

6. The Soviet state includes in its organs - the Soviets - workmen and soldiers on a 
basis of complete equality and unity of interests, whereas bourgeois democracy, in spite 
of all its declarations, transformed the army into an instrument of the wealthy classes 
separated it from the masses, and set it against them, depriving the soldiers of any 
opportunity of exercising their political rights. The aim of the Party is to defend and 
develop this unity of the workmen and soldiers in the Soviets and to strengthen the in- 
dissoluble ties between the armed forces and the organizations of the proletariat and 

7. The urban industrial proletariat, being the more concentrated, united and educated 
section of the toiling masses, hardened in battle, played the part of leader in the whole 
Revolution. This was evidenced while the Soviets were being created, as well as in the 
course of development of the Soviets into organs of authority. Our Soviet Constitution 
reflects this in certain privileges it confers upon the industrial proletariat, in comparison 
with the more scattered petty-bourgeois masses in the village. 

The All-Russian Communist Party, explaining the temporary character of these 
privileges, which are historically connected with difficulties of socialist organisation of 
the village, must try un-deviatingly and systematically to use this position of the 
industrial proletariat in order closer to unite the backward and the scattered masses of the 
village proletarians and semi-proletarians, as well as the middle-class peasantry, as a 
counter-balance to narrow craft professional interests, which were fostered by capitalism 
among the workmen. 

8. The proletarian revolution, owing to the Soviet organization of the state, was able at 
one stroke to destroy the old bourgeois, official and judicial state apparatus. The 
comparatively low standard of culture of the masses the absence of necessary experience 
in state administration on the part of responsible workers who are elected by the masses, 
the pressing necessity, owing to the critical situation of engaging specialists of the old 
school, and the calling up to military sendee of the more advanced section of city 
workmen, all this led to the partial revival of bureaucratic practices within the Soviet 

The All-Russian Communist Party, carrying on a resolute struggle with 
bureaucratism, suggests the following measures for overcoming the evil: 

(1) Every member of the Soviet is obliged to perform a certain duty in state 

(2) These duties must change in rotation, so as gradually to embrace all the branches 
of admin istrative work. 

(3) All the working masses without exception must be gradually induced to take part in 
the work of state administration. 

The complete realisation of these measures will carry us in advance of the Paris 
Commune, and the simplification of the work of administration, together with the raising 
of the level of culture of the masses, will eventually lead to the abolition of state 

The following points of the programme are singled out as being characteristic of 
Soviet democracy: 

1. Local and regional self-administration without the appointment of authorities from 

2. Activity on the part of the masses. 

3. Deprivation of political rights and limitation of freedom .as a temporary measure to 
defeat the exploiters. 

4. Not a formal, but an actual granting of all rights and freedom to all non-capitalistic 
classes of the population. 

5. Immediate, simple and direct franchise. 

6. The right to elect and recall delegates. 

7. Elections not according to districts but according to productive units. 

8. The responsibility and obligation of those in office to render an account of their 
activities to the workers’ and peasants’ councils. 

9. Rotation of members of the Soviet in the administrative branches. 

10. Gradual inclusion of the entire working population in jthe work of the 
administration of the state. 

11. Simplification of the administrative functions. 

12. Abolition of the state power. 

There is one thought that struggles to gain clarity among these historically decisive 
principles, namely: How can social life be simplified in actual practice? Struggle as it 

may, however, it remains stuck in formal political thinking. The nature of the politics of 
state is not described. Admitted that the masses themselves are given the scope of 
freedom, yet they are still not set any practical social tasks. It is not stated that the 
masses of the people, as they are today, cannot take over state and (later) social 
functions. The present political thinking related to the state was derived from the first 
hierarchical representatives of the state and was always directed against the masses. 
Politically, we are still stuck in the systems of thought of the Greek and Roman slave 
states, no matter how much we rant about ‘democracy’. If social self- administration is to 
become a reality, it is not only the form of the state that has to be changed. Social 
existence and its management must be changed in accordance with the tasks and needs of 
the masses of people. Social self-administration must gradually replace the state 
apparatus or take over its rational function. 


The Eighth Party Congress of the Communist party of the Soviet Union founded 
Soviet democracy in 1919. In January of 1935, the Seventh Soviet Congress announces 
the ‘introduction of Soviet democracy’. What is the meaning of this nonsense? 

We want to tell a little story to illustrate the process that led to the ‘introduction of 
Soviet democracy’ in 1935, sixteen years after the introduction of Soviet democracy. 

In the course of his studies, a student of criminal jurisprudence realizes that man’s 
anti-social acts are not to be looked upon as crimes, but as sicknesses; therefore, they 
should not be punished. They should be healed, and efforts should be made to prevent 
their recurrence. He gives up his study of law and turns to the study of medicine. He 
replaces formal ethical activities with practical and pertinent activities. After a while, he 
further realizes that his medical work will require the use of some non-medical methods. 
For example, he would like to dispense with the use of straitjackets as a method of 
treatment for mental patients and replace their use by preventive educational measures. 
Despite his better judgement, however, he is forced to make use of the straitjacket -there 
are just too many mental patients. He cannot cope with all of them, so he has to continue 
to use antiquated and poor methods, but always bearing in mind that they must be 
replaced someday by better methods. 

As time goes by the task becomes more than he can handle. He is not equal to it. Too 
little is known about mental sicknesses. There are too many of them; education produces 
them by the thousands every day. As a physician he has to protect society from mental 

He cannot carry out his good intentions. On the contrary, he has to revert to the old 
methods, the very methods he had formerly condemned so severely and had wanted to 
replace with better ones. He makes use of straitjackets more and more. His educational 
plans come to naught. His efforts to become a physician who prevents sicknesses, instead 
of one who has to cure them, also fail. He has no choice but to revert to the old laws. His 
effort to treat criminals as patients does not bear fruit. He is forced to have them locked 
up again. 

But he doesn’t admit his fiasco, neither to himself nor to others. He doesn’t have the 
courage. Perhaps he isn’t even aware of it. Now he asserts the following nonsense: The 

introduction of straitjackets and prisons for criminals and people who are mentally ill 
represents an enormous step forward in the application of my medical art. It is the true 
medical art; it constitutes the attainment of my original goal!’ 

This story applies in the minutest detail to the ‘introduction of Soviet democracy’, 
sixteen years after the ‘introduction of Soviet democracy’. It becomes comprehensible 
only when it is assessed against the basic conception of ’ social democracy’ and the 
‘abolition of the state’ as set forth by Lenin in State and Revolution. The explanation for 
this measure given by the Soviet government is not so important here. Only one sentence 
from the explanation, printed in the Rundschau, 1935, no. 7, p. 3 31, shows that with this 
act, whether justified or not, Lenin’s conception of social democracy was annulled. It is 

The proletarian dictatorship has always been the only true power of the people. It has 
successfully fulfilled both of its main tasks: the destruction of the exploiters as a class, 
their expropriation and suppression, and the socialist education of the masses. The 
proletarian dictatorship continues to exist undeterred. . . 

If the exploiters have been destroyed as a class and the socialist education of the. 
masses has been a success, and yet the dictatorship continues to exist ‘undeterred’, we see 
just how nonsensical the whole idea is. If the preconditions have been fulfilled, then why 
does the dictatorship continue to exist undeterred? Against whom or what is it directed if 
the exploiters have been crushed and the masses have already been educated to assume 
responsibility for social functions? Such a ridiculous formulation always conceals an all- 
too-true meaning: The dictatorship continues, but now it is no longer directed against the 
exploiters of the old school, but against the masses themselves. 

The Rundschau continues: ‘This higher socialist phase, the alliance between workers 
and peasants, gives the proletarian dictatorship, as the democracy of the workers, a new 
and higher content. This new content also requires new forms, i.e... the transition to 
equal, direct, and secret ballots for the workers/ 

We don’t want to engage in any hair splitting: The proletarian dictatorship (which in 
time was supposed to give way to the self-administration of masses of people) exists 
simultaneously with the ‘most democratic* democracy. This is sociologic nonsense, a 
confusion of all sociologic concepts. We are concerned here with one central question: 
Was the main goal of the social revolutionary movement of 1917, the abolition of the 
state and the introduction of social self-administration, actually achieved? If so, then an 
essential difference must exist between the ‘Soviet democracy’ of 1935 and the 
‘proletarian dictatorship’ of 1919 on the one hand, and the bourgeois parliamentary 
democracies of England and America on the other hand. 

Mention is made of the ‘further democratization’ of the Soviet system. How is this 
possible? We were under the impression that, in terms of its nature, the conception of its 
founders and also as it actually was in the beginning, the ‘proletarian dictatorship’ is 
completely identical with social democracy ( — proletarian democracy). If, however, the 
dictatorship of the proletariat is the same as social democracy, then a Soviet democracy 
cannot be introduced sixteen years after the establishment of social democracy, nor can 
there be a ‘further democratization’. The ‘introduction of democracy’ certainly implies - 
and there can be no doubt about this - that social democracy had not existed previously 
and that the dictatorship of the proletariat was not identical with social democracy. Quite 

apart from this, it is absurd to say that social democracy is the ‘most democratic’ system. 
Is bourgeois democracy only ‘a little’ democratic, while social democracy is ‘more’ 
democratic? What does ‘a little’ and what does ‘more’ mean? In reality, bourgeois 
parliamentary democracy is a formal democracy; masses of people elect their 
representatives, but they do not govern themselves through their own workers’ 

organi2ations. And Lenin’s social democracy was supposed to be a qualitatively 

completely different form of social regulation and not merely a kind of quantitative 

improvement of formal parliamentarianism. It was supposed to replace the proletarian 
dictatorship of the state by the actual and practical self-administration of the workers. The 
parallel existence of the ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ and the self-administration of the 
working masses is an impossibility. As a political demand it is confusing and 

nonsensical. In actual fact it is a dictatorship of party bureaucracy that rules over the 
masses under the guise of a formal democratic parliamentarianism. 

We must never lose sight of the fact that Hitler always built upon the justified hate of 
masses of people against sham democracy and the parliamentary system - and with great 
success! In view of such political manoeuvres on the part of Russian Communists, 
fascism’s potent slogan, ‘unity of Marxism and parliamentary bourgeois liberalism’, must 
have been very impressive I Around 1935 the hope that broad masses of people 
throughout the world had placed on the Soviet Union began to dwindle more and more. 
Actual problems cannot be solved with political illusions. One has to have the guts to 
face difficulties squarely. Clearly established social concepts cannot be confused with 

In the establishment of ‘Soviet democracy’, the participation of the masses in the 
administration of the state was stressed, the protectorate of the industries over the 
respective branches of the government was made explicit and the fact that workers’ and 
peasants’ councils have a voice ‘in’ the people’s commissariats was extolled. However, 
this is not the issue. It is the following that is important: 

1. How do the masses actually participate in the administration of the state? Is this 
participation an increasing take-over of administrative functions, as is called for by social 
democracy? What is the form of this ‘participation’? 

2. A formal protectorate of an industry over a branch of the government is not self- 
administration. Does the government branch control the industry or vice versa? 

3. Councils having a voice ‘in’ the people’s commissariat means that they are 
appendages or, at best, executive organs of the commissariat, whereas Lenin’s demand 
reads: Replacement of all official bureaucratic functions by Soviets, which spread more 
and more among the masses. 

4. If Soviet democracy is ‘introduced’ at the same time that the dictatorship of the 
proletariat continues to be ‘consolidated’, this can only mean that the goal, the continuous 
withering away of the proletarian state and the proletarian dictatorship, has been given 

On the basis of the available facts and the assessment of these facts, the introduction 
of ‘Soviet democracy’ sixteen years after the introduction of Soviet democracy means 
that: The transition from authoritarian state government to self-administration of society 
was not possible. This transition failed to materialize because the biopathic structure of 

the masses and the means of effecting a basic change in this structure were not 
recognised. There can be no question that the misappropriation and curbing of individual 
capitalists was a complete success; but the education of the masses, the attempt to make 
them capable of abolishing the state, which was only an oppressor to them, to effect its 
‘withering away’ and to take over its functions, was not a success. It was for this reason 
that the social democracy that had begun to develop during the first years of the 
Revolution had to die out little by little. It was also for this reason that the state apparatus, 
which had not been replaced by anything, had to be consolidated to secure the existence 
of society. Besides a shifting of the political emphasis to the masses of the kolkhoz 
peasants, the ‘introduction of universal suffrage’ in 1935 meant the reintroduction of 
formal democracy. In essence, it meant that the bureaucratic state apparatus, which was 
becoming more and more powerful, granted a meaningless parliamentary right to a mass 
of people who had not been able to destroy this apparatus and had not learned to 
administrate its own affairs. There is no indication whatever in the Soviet Union that the 
slightest effort is being made to prepare the working masses to take over the adminis- 
tration of society. It is certainly necessary to teach people to read and write, to be sanitary 
and to understand the technique of motors, but this has nothing to do with social self- 
administration. Hitler does as much. 

The development of Soviet society was characterized by the formation of a new 
autonomous state apparatus, which had become strong enough to give the mass of the 
population the illusion of freedom without endangering its own position in any way, in 
precisely the same way as Hitler’s National Socialism had done. The introduction of 
Soviet democracy was not a step forward, but a step backward, one of many regressions 
to old forms of social life. What guarantees are there that the state apparatus of the 
Soviet Union will abolish itself by educating the masses to administrate their own 
affairs? Sentimentality serves no purpose here: The Russian Revolution encountered an 
obstacle, of which it had no knowledge and which was therefore shrouded in illusions. 
The obstacle was man’s human structure, a structure that had become biopathic in the 
course of thousands of years. It would be absurd to set the ‘blame’ down to Stalin or 
anyone else. Stalin was only an instrument of circumstances. Only on paper does the 
process of social development appear as easy and as pleasant as taking a stroll through 
the woods. In hard reality it encounters new and unrecognized difficulties one after the 
other. Regressions and catastrophes result. One has to learn to recognize, investigate and 
master them. However, one reproach remains: The veracity of a promising social plan has 
to be examined again and again. It must be honestly decided whether the plan is true or 
false, and whether anything has been overlooked in its development. Only is such a way 
can the plan be consciously changed and improved, and its development more effectively 
mastered. It may often be necessary to mobilize the thinking of many people to overcome 
those forces that obstruct the development towards freedom. But to befog the masses with 
illusions is a social crime. When an honest leader of the masses reaches an impasse and 
knows that he cannot make any headway, he resigns and makes room for others. If a 
better leader does not appear, the present leader honestly tells the community exactly 
where it stands, and he waits with them to see whether a solution cannot be found after 
all, either from the course of events themselves or from an individual insight. But the 
politician is afraid of such honesty. 

In defence of the international workers’ movement, it must be pointed out that its fight 
for a real and genuine democracy -not a mere rhetorical one - was made incredibly 
difficult. One always sided with those who declared: ‘The dictatorship of the proletariat is 
a dictatorship like any other dictatorship. This has become clear, for why is it only now 
that democracy is “introduced”?’ There was no reason to be happy about the praise given 
to the Soviet Union (‘introspective’,’ democracy’, ‘finally’) by the Social Democrats. It 
was a bitter pill, a formality. An objective regression in the course of a development is 
often necessary and has to be accepted, but to shroud such a regression in illusions by the 
fascist method of lying cannot be justified. When Lenin introduced the ‘New Economic 
Policy’ (NEP) in 1923, he did not say: ‘We have advanced from a lower phase of 
proletarian dictatorship to a higher phase. The introduction of the NEP constitutes an 
enormous step forward towards communism.’ Such a statement would have immediately 
undermined confidence in Soviet leadership. When Lenin introduced the NEP, he said: 

It is sad and cruel, but there is no way of getting around it right now. The economy 
imposed upon communism by the war has confronted us with unforeseen difficulties. We 
have to go back a step in order to precede that much more securely. True, we are giving 
private enterprise a bit of freedom - we have no other choice - but we know exactly what 
we are doing. 

In the case of the ‘introduction of Soviet democracy’, such self-evident perception and 
frankness were missing. In 1935 they were more necessary than ever before. Such a 
direct and honest approach would have won millions of friends throughout the world. It 
would have made people think. It might even have averted the pact with Hitler, the 
responsibility for which was shoved off on the Trotskians. As it was, however, a new 
Russian nationalism was superimposed on Lenin’s social democracy. 

The Leningrad Red Times, the central organ of the Russian Bolsheviks, stated on 4 
February 1935: 

All our love, our faithfulness, our strength, our hearts, our heroism, our life - 
everything for you, take it, O great Stalin, everything is yours, O leader of our great 
homeland. Command your sons. They can move in the air and under the earth, in water 
and in the stratosphere. 80 Men and women of all times and all nations will remember your 
name as the most magnificent, the strongest, the wisest, the most beautiful. Your name is 
written on every factory, on every machine, in every corner of the world, in every human 
heart. When my beloved wife bears me a child, the first word I will teach him will be 

In Pravda of 19 March 1935 (quoted in the Rundschau, no. 15, p. 787,1935), we find 
an article entitled ‘Soviet Patriotism’in which’ Soviet patriotism’ begins to vie with 
‘fascist patriotism’ : 

Soviet patriotism - that flaming feeling of boundless love, unconditional devotion to 
one’s native country, deepest responsibility for its fate and for its defence - surges forth 
from the deepest depths of our people. Never before has heroism in the right for one’s 
own country reached such stupendous heights. The unparalleled and glorious history of 
the Soviet Union shows what the working people are capable of when it is a question of 
their homeland. The immortal song of our dear, liberated and new-formed country 
resounds from the illegal work, the barricades, the storming and sweeping of Budenny’s 
crack mounted army, the grape-shot fire of the imperishable army of the revolution, the 

harmony of the plants and factories of socialist industries, the rhythm of work between 
city and town, and the activity of the Communist Party. 

Soviet Russia, the country bred and reared by Lenin and Stalin I How it is caressed by 
the rays of Spring, which began with the October revolution! Streams swelled up, 
dammed-up currents broke forth, and all the forces of the working people began to move 
and to pave the way for new historical developments. The grandeur of the Soviet Union, 
the splendour of its fame and its power shone forth from every corner of the country. The 
seeds of a rich life and a socialist culture sprang up rapidly. We have raised the Red 
banner of Communism to new heights and far into blue distant skies. - Soviet patriotism 
is the love of our people for the land, the land which we have wrung from the capitalists 
and landowners with blood and sword. It is the attachment to the beautiful life which our 
great people have created. It is the militant and powerful guard in West and East. It is the 
dedication to the great cultural heritage of human genius which has blossomed so 
perfectly in our country and in our country only [my italics, WR]. Is it surprising, then, 
that foreigners come to the borders of the Soviet Union, people with different educational 
backgrounds, to bow reverently to the haven of culture, to the state of the Red flag? 

Soviet Union - the fountainhead of mankind I The name of Moscow rings forth to the 
workers, peasants, to all honest and cultured people the world over, rings forth like a bell 
in the fog at sea, a hope for a brighter future and for the victory over fascist barbarism. 

... In our socialist country, the interests of the people cannot be separated from the 
interests of the country and its government. Soviet patriotism derives its inspiration from 
the fact that the people themselves, under the leadership of the Soviet Party, have shaped 
their own life. It derives its inspiration from the fact that only now, under Soviet power, 
has our beautiful and rich country been opened to the working people. And the natural 
attachment to one’s native country, one’s native soil, to the skies under which one first 
saw the light of this world, grows and becomes a powerful pride in one’s socialist 
country, in one’s great Communist Party, in one’s Stalin. The ideas of Soviet patriotism 
breed and rear heroes, knights and millions of brave soldiers who, like an all-engulfing 
avalanche, are ready to hurl themselves upon the enemies of the country and obliterate 
them from the face of the earth. With the milk from their mothers, our youth are imbued 
with love for their country. It is our obligation to educate new generations of Soviet 
patriots, for whom the interests of their country will mean more than anything else, even 
more than life itself... 

.. . The great invincible spirit of Soviet patriotism is nurtured with the greatest care, 
skill and creativity. Soviet patriotism is one of the outstanding manifestations of the 
October revolution. How much strength, boldness, youthful vigour, heroism, pathos, 
beauty and movement it contains ! 

In our country, Soviet patriotism glows like a powerful flame. It drives life forward. It 
heats the motors of our storm tanks, our heavy bombers, our destroyers, and loads our 
cannons. Soviet patriotism guards our borders, where vile enemies, doomed to perish, 
threaten our peaceful life, our power and our glory... 

This is the emotional plague of politics. It has nothing to do with the natural love of 
one’s native country. It is the maudlin raving of a writer who knows of no objective 
means of stirring people’s enthusiasm. It is comparable to the erection of an impotent 
man, forcefully brought about by the use of yohimbine. And the social effects of such 

patriotism are comparable to the reaction of a healthy woman to a sexual embrace made 
possible by yohimbine. 

Perhaps this ‘Soviet patriotism’, in view of the extinction of revolutionary enthusiasm, 
was a necessary preparation for the later fight against the ‘Wotan patriotism. Work- 
democracy has nothing to do with such ‘patriotism’. Indeed, one can safely infer that 
rational social leadership has failed when such yohimbine patriotism begins to crop up. 
The love of a people for its country, attachment to the earth and devotion to the 
community speaking the same language, are human experiences, which are too deep and 
too serious to be made the objects of political irrationalism. Such yohimbine forms of 
patriotism do not solve a single objective problem of the human society of the working 
man; they have nothing to do with democracy. Outbreaks of sentimental pathos always 
point to fear on the part of those who are responsible. We want to have nothing to do with 

When a genuine democratic, i.e., work-democratic, effort is made to effect a basic 
change in the structure of masses of people, it is easy to appraise the progress or lack of 
progress that is being made. For instance, when masses of people begin to clamour for 
super-dimensional pictures of their ‘fuhrer’, then they are on their way to becoming 
irresponsible. In Lenin’s time, a spoon-fed fuhrer-cult did not exist, and there were no 
sky-high pictures of the fuhrer of the proletariat. It is known that Lenin wanted no part of 
such things. 

The attitude taken towards technical achievements is also indicative of a people’s 
progress or lack of progress towards genuine freedom. In the Soviet Union the 
construction of the airliner’ Gorki’ was extolled as a ‘revolutionary achievement’. But 
wherein lies the essential difference between the construction of this airliner and those of 
Germany or America? The construction of aeroplanes is indispensable in order to provide 
the broad industrial basis necessary for modern work-democracy. This much is clear, and 
there should be no arguing about it. What is important is whether the broad masses of 
workers identify with the construction of aeroplanes in an illusionary nationalistic- 
chauvinistic way, i.e., derive a feeling of superiority towards other nations on the basis of 
the construction of these aeroplanes, or whether the construction of aeroplanes serves to 
bring about a closer human relationship among the various nations and nationalities, i.e., 
serves to promote internationalism. In other words, as far as man’s character structure is 
concerned, the construction of aeroplanes can serve a reactionary or work-democratic 
purpose. Under the management of power-thirsty politicians, the construction of 
aeroplanes can easily be exploited to create nationalistic chauvinism. But airliners can 
also be used to transport Germans to Russia, Russians to China and Germany, Americans 
to Germany and Italy and Chinese to America and Germany. In this way the German 
worker would have a chance to see for himself that he is not essentially different from the 
Russian worker, and the English worker would be able to learn that the Indian worker is 
not to be looked upon as a born object of exploitation. 

Here again we see clearly that the technical development of a society is not identical 
with its cultural development. The structure of the human character represents a social 
power in itself, a power that can be directed towards reactionary or international goals, 
even when the technical basis is one and the same. The tendency to see everything in 
terms of economy is catastrophic. Every effort must be made to correct this tendency. 

It boils down to this: The working masses of people must refuse to be content with 
illusionary gratifications, which always end in a kind of fascism, and to insist upon the 
real gratification of the necessities of life and to bear the responsibility for it. 

The Social Democratic organization of Viennese workers regarded the introduction of 
the trolley system by the Social Democratic community of Vienna as a specifically social 
democratic achievement. The communist workers of Moscow, that is to say, workers who 
were fundamentally hostile towards the Social Democratic party, regarded the subway 
constructed by the communist city administration of Moscow as a specifically communist 
achievement. And the German workers regarded the planned Baghdad railroad as a 
specifically German achievement. These examples are evidence of the plague like nature 
of the illusionary gratification fostered by political irrationalism. Such irrationalism 
conceals the simple fact that a German railroad and a Viennese railroad and a Moscow 
railroad are based on precisely the same internationally valid principles of work, which 
the Viennese, Berlin and Moscow workers follow in precisely the same way. These 
workers of various nationalities don’t say to themselves: We are all related to one another 
by the principle of our work and accomplishment. Let us get to know one another and 
also consider how we can teach the Chinese worker to make use of our principles.’ No! 
The German worker is firmly convinced that his railroad is different and better, let us say 
more Wotanistic, than the Russian railroad. Thus, it never enters his mind to help the 
Chinaman to build a railroad. On the contrary, hypnotized by his illusionary nationalistic 
gratification, he follows some plague-ridden general or another, who wants to deprive the 
Chinese of whatever railroad they have. In this way the emotional plague of politics 
engenders division and deadly hostility within the same class; in this way it engenders 
envy, boastfulness, unprincipled conduct and irresponsibility. The elimination of 
illusionary gratification and its replacement by the genuine gratification derived from a 
genuine interest in and relationship to work and the establishment of international 
cooperation among workers are indispensable preconditions for the uprooting of the 
craving for authority in the character structure of the workers. Only then will the working 
masses of people be able to develop the forces necessary to adapt technology to the needs 
of the masses. 

In an essay printed in the Europdische Heften of 22 November 1934, Hinoy reached 
the conclusion:’ .. The workers fin the Soviet Union] do not feel themselves to be the 
direct rulers of their country, nor do the youth. The state is the ruler, but the youth look 
upon this state as their own creation, and it is from this conception that it derives its 

Such statements were common at that time, and they left no room for doubt that, no 
matter how one appraised it, the society of the Soviet Union of the 19305 had nothing 
whatever to do with the original programme of the Communist party, a programme that 
called for the gradual abolition of the state. 

This is an objective and factual statemen t and not a political programme against the 
Soviet Union. I call upon the KGB agents in Europe and America to take cognizance of 
this. The murdering of those who make such statements will not change the facts of the 
case in the least. 


The Second World War has reconfirmed what has been general knowledge from time 
immemorial: Th e fundamental difference between the reactionary politician and the 
genuine democrat is revealed in their attitude towards state power. A man’s social 
character can be objectively appraised on the basis of this attitude, regardless of his 
political party. It follows from this that there are genuine democrats among the fascists 
and pure fascists among the party democrats. Just as the character structure, this attitude 
towards state power is not confined to any one class or political group. Here, too, to paint 
everything in black and white colours is wrong and inadmissible from a sociological 
point of view. Mental attitudes and political parties cannot be mechanically equated. 

It is typical of the reactionary to advocate the supremacy of the state over society; he 
advocates the ‘idea of the state’, which leads in a straight line to dictatorial absolutism, 
whether it is embodied in a royal, ministerial or open fascist form of state. The genuine 
democrat, who acknowledges and advocates natural work-democracy as the natural basis 
of international and national cooperation, always aims at overcoming the difficulties of 
social cooperation by eliminating the social causes of these difficulties. It is this aim that 
characterizes him as a genuine democrat! This requires a thorough discussion of the 
development and the rational function inherent in the authoritarian state. It is fruitless and 
senseless to fight an irrational social institution, without first asking oneself how it is 
possible that, despite its irrationality, this institution is capable of surviving and even 
appearing necessary. From our study of the Russian state apparatus we learned that this 
state apparatus became necessary in the course of time. And it was not difficult to see 
that, notwithstanding all its irrationality, it very definitely had the rational function of 
holding together and leading the Russian people, after the masses had failed to achieve 
social self-government. 

We would not hesitate to call a mother’s behaviour irrational if she were to treat her 
neurotic child in a strict and authoritarian manner. We will readily understand that it is 
this strictness that makes the child sick, but we must not overlook the fact - and this is the 
cardinal point in the fighting of authoritarian education - that a child who has become a 
neurotic, and is living in a neurotic family situation, cannot be held in check in any other 
way than with authoritarian means. In other words, although it is not fundamentally 
rational, the mother’s strictness has a rational side, however conditional and 
circumscribed it may be. We will have to concede this conditional rational function if we 
ever hope to convince the educator, who adheres to the authoritarian principle from sheer 
necessity, that it can be eliminated by preventing the child from becoming neurotic. 

This conditional and circumscribed rational character also applies to the authoritarian 
state, as reluctant as we are to admit it, knowing how dangerous such a statement could 
become in the hands of a mystical dictator. He would be capable of saying: ‘Do you hear! 
Even the liberal work-democrats admit the necessity and rationality of an authoritarian 
leadership.’ We know now that it is the irrational character structure of masses of people 
that offers a ‘justification’ for authoritarian leadership. Only in this way can a 
dictatorship be comprehended, and this comprehension is the only hope of eliminating it 
from man’s life. The recognition of the irrationality in the structure of the masses gives us 
a social basis from which to overcome this irrationality and, with it, dictatorship itself- to 

overcome it, not with illusions, but objectively and scientifically. When social 
cooperation is disrupted, state power is always strengthened. This is in keeping with the 
moralistic-authoritarian method of dealing with the difficulties superficially. This 
approach does not of course really remove the social evil, but merely pushes it into the 
background, from which it later breaks forth much more violently and extensively. If 
there are no other means of dealing with rape murders than the execution of the murderer, 
then one uses this method. This is the approach followed by the authoritarian state. Work- 
democracy, however, goes to the core of the matter and asks: How can we eliminate the 
phenomena of rape and murder altogether? Only when we comprehend the compulsion of 
execution and simultaneously condemn it is the problem of elimination brought into 
sharp focus. Undoubtedly, the elimination of social evils is one of the chief means of 
causing the authoritarian state to wither away. In all probability moralistic-authoritarian 
social leadership will continue to function only so long as and insofar as it cannot be 
superseded by the methods of self-government. This applies to -the state in general, as 
well as to all other areas of social life. 

True enough, the authoritarian state is essentially a suppressive apparatus, but it is not 
exclusively so. At the same time, and indeed originally, before it became a suppressive 
apparatus of the society, it was an aggregate of autonomous social relations. Originally, 
the state was identical with society. In the course of time it detached itself from the 
society and became more and more alien to it, eventually assuming the form of a raging 
force above and against it. 

As long as there was a social organization (such as in the clan society) that was not 
driven by serious inner contradictions, there was no need for a special power having the 
task of holding the social organisms together. The nature of society is such that it requires 
a power to prevent its disintegration, its decline and its dissolution when it is driven by 
powerful opposing interests and difficulties of life. Among other things it was the schism 
of German society caused by the many different and hostile political parties that German 
fascism to achieve power. Fascism’s rapid and powerful rise to power clearly shows that, 
for masses of German people, the promise that the society would be held together by 
means of the state was more essential than the individual party programmes. But this 
does not change the fact that ideas and political ideologies cannot eliminate the inner 
schisms of society, and it makes no difference whether this political idea is totalitarian or 
non-totalitarian. The fascists were not the only ones who played up the idea of the state. 
They merely did so more urgently and more effectively than the social democratic 
government, the Communists and the liberals. And it was precisely for this reason that 
they were victorious. Thus, it is the political schism of a society that gives birth to the 
idea of the state, and vice versa, the idea of the state that creates social schism. It is a 
vicious cycle from which one can extricate oneself only if both the schism and the idea of 
the state are traced to their source and given a common denominator. As we already 
know, this common denominator is the irrational character structure of masses of people. 
Neither those who advocated the idea of the state nor those having other political 
programmes had any inkling of this common denominator. The assertion that this or that 
dictator imposed himself upon a society against its will and from the outside was one of 
the gravest errors made in the assessment of dictatorships. In reality, every dictator in 
history did nothing more than bring already existing ideas of the state to a head. He had 
merely to seize upon this idea and to exclude all non-related ideas to achieve power. 

The rational and irrational dual function of the state and of the idea of the state was 
clearly assessed by Friedrich Engels in the last century: 

Hence, the state is definitely not a power imposed upon society from the outside. Nor, 
for that matter, is it ‘the reality of the moral idea’, ‘the image and reality of reason’, as 
Hegel claimed. It is the product of society at a certain stage of its development. It is the 
admission that a society has become entangled in an insoluble contradiction with itself, 
has split up into irreconcilable opposing interests, which it is powerless to cope with. To 
prevent these oppositions, these classes with conflicting economic interests, from 
consuming themselves and society in a fruitless fight, a power which apparently stands 
above society becomes necessary, a power which is supposed to have the function of 
checking the conflict and keeping it within the limits of ‘order’. This power which 
originates from society but, placing itself above it, becomes more and more alien to it, is 
the state. 

This sociological elucidation of the concept of the state by the industrialist and 
German sociologist Friedrich Engels completely undermined all philosophies of the state, 
which in one way or another were derived from Plato’s abstract and metaphysical idea. 
Friedrich Engels’ theory does not trace the apparatus of the state from higher values and 
nationalistic mysticism; in a very simple way it gives a picture of the state’s dual nature. 
Inasmuch as it clarifies the social basis of the state apparatus and at the same time points 
out the contradiction between state and society, it offers the shrewd statesman - one, for 
instance, having the stature of Masaryk or Roosevelt - as well as each individual working 
man of the world, a powerful means with which to comprehend the schism of society and 
the consequent necessity of a state apparatus. .. and the means to eliminate it. 

Let us try to elucidate the genesis of the dual nature of the state with a simple 

In the initial stages of human civilization the social tasks of living and working 
together presented no problem. Hence, the relationship between man and man was also 
simple. We can study this factor in .the remnants of the old and simple civilizations 
which have continued intact into our own times. Once again let us illustrate our point 
with the well-known organization of the Trobrianders. They have a natural economy, i.e., 
a use economy. Whatever market economy they practise is of no account. One clan 
catches fish, another grows fruit. The one clan has too many fish and the other has too 
much fruit. Hence, they exchange fish for fruit and vice versa. Their economic 
relationships are very simple. 

Besides the economic relationships there is a definite familial relationship among the 
members of the clan. Since marriage is exogamous, the Trobriander adolescents of one 
clan form sexual relations with adolescents of another clan. If by a social interpersonal 
relationship we understand every relationship that serves to gratify a basic biologic need, 
then the sexual relationship coexists on an equal par with the economic relationship. The 
more work itself becomes separated from the gratification of a need, whereby the needs 
themselves become more complicated, the less is the individual member of the society 
capable of fulfilling the manifold functions that fall to his share. For example: 

Let us transplant the Trobriander society and its natural economy to any place in 
Europe or Asia. This is an admissible supposition, for all nations of the earth were 
formed from tribes, and the tribes were originally formed from groups of clans. In the 

same way, market economy and exchange economy were developed from natural 
economy. Let us now assume that in one of these small communities, consisting of two to 
three hundred people, the need arises to establish contact with other small communities. 
This need is very small. Only one of the two hundred members of the community has 
something to tell a member of another community. He gets on his horse and rides to the 
other community and delivers his message. The art of writing has made a beginning and 
the need for social contact with other communities grows little by little. Until this time 
everyone delivered his own mail, but now the rider is requested to deliver several letters. 
In the meantime the communities have grown and now comprise as many as two to five 
thousand members. The need to enter into a correspondence with members of other 
communities also grows. Already hundreds of people are exchanging letters. With the 
development of commerce, the writing of letters ceases to be a rare curiosity. The 
delivery of letters becomes a daily, vitally necessary task, which is more and more 
difficult to solve in the .old way. One community discusses the matter and decides to 
employ a. ’ letter carrier’. It relieves one of it’s, still nondescript, members from all other 
duties, guarantees him a definite income and charges him to take care of the community’s 
mail. This first letter carrier is the human embodiment of the interpersonal relationship 
between letter writing and letter delivery. In this way a social organ comes into being, 
the sole function of which is to deliver letters. Our letter carrier is a primitive type of 
social administrator, whose vitally necessary work is still very definitely and solely in the 
service of the social community. 

Let us further assume that in the course of many years the primitive communities have 
grown into small towns of, let us say, fifty thousand inhabitants each. Among other 
things the growth of these communities is to be ascribed to the new function of letter 
writing and the social intercourse related to it. One letter carrier is no longer enough; one 
hundred letter carriers are needed now. They require their own administration; therefore, 
one of them is given the job of chief letter carrier. He is a letter carrier who has been 
relieved of his former duties. In place of these he has assumed the more extensive duty of 
organizing the work of the one hundred letter carriers in the most practical way possible. 
As yet, he does not ‘supervise ‘, and he does not give orders. He does not stand above the 
community of letter carriers. He merely facilitates their work; he decides when the letters 
will be picked up and when they will be delivered. He now gets the idea of producing 
postage stamps, which simplify the entire function. 

In this way a very simple and vitally necessary function has become autonomous. ‘The 
postal system’ has become an ‘apparatus’ of the society; it has grown out of the society 
for the purpose of improving its co-ordination. It still does not set itself up against this 
society as a superior power. 

How is it possible for such an administrative apparatus of society to become a 
suppressive apparatus? It does not become a suppressive power on the basis of its 
original function. The administrative apparatus retains these social functions, but it 
gradually develops characteristics other than those related to its vitally necessary activity. 
Let us now assume that in our large community, conditions of authoritarian patriarchy 
have begun to develop, wholly independent of the postal system. For example, there are 
already ‘aristocratic’ families, which have developed from the original tribal chiefs. By 
accumulating dowries, they have developed a twofold power: first of all the power that is 
inherent in property, and second of all the power to forbid their own children to have 

sexual intercourse with the less well-to-do strata of the community. In the development of 
economic and sexual slavery these two power functions always go hand in hand. The 
authoritarian patriarch who becomes more and more powerful wants to prevent other, 
weaker members of the community from maintaining contact with other communities. He 
also wants to make it impossible for his daughters to exchange love letters with 
whomever they please. It is of interest to him that his daughters form relations only with 
certain well-to-do men. His interests in sexual and economic suppression cause him to 
seize upon those autonomous social functions that were originally managed by the 
society as a whole. On the basis of his growing influence, our patriarch will introduce a 
new regulation forbidding the post office to deliver all letters without distinction. Under 
the new regulation, for example, love letters in general and certain business letters will 
not be delivered. To fulfil this novel function, the post office charges one of its letter 
carriers with the task of ‘censoring the mail’. In this way the social administration of mail 
service takes on a second function, one which makes it an authoritarian power separated 
from and above society. This constitutes the first step towards the development of an 
authoritarian state apparatus from a social administrative apparatus. Letter carriers still 
continue to deliver letters, but already they have begun to poke their noses into the 
contents of the letters and to determine who is allowed and who is not allowed to write 
letters and what one can write about and what one cannot write about. To this the social 
community reacts in one of two ways: toleration or protest. The first gap in the social 
community has been created, whether it is called ‘class conflict’ or something else. It is 
not a question of words, but of the differentiation between a social function which is vital 
and one which curtails freedom. From now on, arbitrary practices have a free hand. For 
instance, Jesuits can exploit the postal censorship for their own purposes. The security 
police might make use of the existing postal censorship to increase their own power. 

Without distorting things, this simplified example can be easily applied to the 
complicated machinery of present-day society. It applies to our banking system, our 
police and our school system, the administration of food distribution, and certainly to the 
bearing of society towards other nations. We begin to make order of chaos if, in the 
evaluation of any state function, we consistently ask ourselves what part of it relates to its 
original function of executing social tasks, and what part of it relates to the later-acquired 
function of suppressing the freedom of the members of the society. Originally, the police 
of New York, Berlin or any other city had the task of protecting the community from 
murder and theft. Insofar as they still perform this task, they are a useful and autonomous 
function of society. But when the police take it upon themselves to prohibit harmless 
games in private homes, to prescribe whether a man or woman can receive a member of 
the opposite sex in his or her apartment alone, to determine when they have to get up and 
when they have to go to bed, then we have a picture of a tyrannical and authoritarian state 
power, a state power above and against society. 

It is one of work-democracy’s inherent tendencies to eliminate those functions of 
social administration that operate above and/or against society. The natural work- 
democratic process tolerates only those administrative functions that serve to promote the 
unity of society and to facilitate its vital operations. It clearly follows from this that one 
cannot be ‘against’ or ‘for’ the ‘state’ in a mechanical and rigid way. One has to 
distinguish between its original social functions and its suppressive functions. It is also 
clear that the state apparatus will become and will have to become the executive organ of 

society when, in fulfilling its natural work functions, it operates in the interest of society 
as a whole. When this happens, however, it ceases to be a’ state apparatus’. It divests 
place it above and against society and thus implant in it the seed of authoritarian 
dictatorships. This constitutes the genuine withering away of the state, i.e., a withering 
away of its irrational functions. The rational functions are vitally necessary and they 

This distinction makes it possible to examine every vitally necessary administrative 
function to see whether it is attempting to place itself above and against society, to see 
whether it is beginning to become a new authoritarian instrument of the state. As long as 
it is in the service of society, it is also a part of society. It is desirable, necessary, and it 
belongs in the sphere of vitally necessary work. If, however, the state apparatus sets itself 
up to be the master and tyrant of society, if it claims autonomous power for itself, then it 
becomes the arch enemy of society and must be dealt with accordingly. 

It is clear that a modern and complicated social organism could not exist without an 
administrative apparatus. It is equally clear that it is no easy task to eliminate the 
tendency of the administrative apparatus to deteriorate into a ‘state apparatus’. Here is a 
vast field of research for sociologists and social psychologists. After the authoritarian 
state has been overthrown, the task still remains of preventing administrative functions 
from becoming autonomous powers again. However, in view of the fact that authoritarian 
autonomy is the direct result of the inability of working masses of people to regulate, 
administrate and control their own affairs, the problem of the authoritarian state can no 
longer be dealt with and mastered independently of the problem of man’s structure, and 
vice versa. 

This leads directly to the question of so-called ‘state capitalism’, which was still 
unknown in the nineteenth century and did not begin to develop until the First World 
War, 1914-18. 


Until around the end of the First World War in Russia and until the worldwide 
economic crisis around 1930 in the United States, the relationship between the system of 
private capitalism and the system of the state was a simple one. For Lenin and his 
contemporaries the ‘capitalist state’ was simply the power instrument of the ‘class of 
private capitalists’. The simplicity of this relationship was depicted somewhat as follows 
in Russian revolutionary films: 

The private owner of a factory attempts to depress wages; the workers demand higher 
wages. The capitalist refuses to comply with this demand, whereupon the workers go on 
strike to push through their demand. The capitalist telephones the police commissioner 
and charges him ‘to re-establish order’ . In this case, the police commissioner figures as a 
public tool of the capitalist, and as such merely attests to the fact that the state is a 
‘ capitalist state”. The police commissioner orders his force to the factory and has the 
‘ringleaders’ arrested; the workers are without leadership. After a while they begin to feel 
the pangs of hunger and willingly or unwillingly return to their jobs. The capitalist has 
won. This demands better and stricter organization of the workers. In the opinion of the 

sociologists who took the part of the workers, this film reflected the relationship between 
state and capitalism in America. But the enormous social readjustments of the past twenty 
years have effected changes which no longer coincide with this simple conception. More 
and more corporations, which were generally described as ‘state-capitalistic’, grew out of 
the private capitalist system. The Russian society replaced private capitalism with the 
unlimited power of the state. It makes no difference what it is called, but in the strict 
Marxist sense state capitalism has taken the place of private capitalism. As we already 
pointed out, the concept of capitalism is not determined by the existence of individual 
capitalists, but by the existence of market economy and wage labour. 

As a result of the worldwide economic crisis 1929-33, social processes that tended 
towards state capitalism also set in Germany and America. The state as an organization 
above society also began to assume an autonomous position towards the system of 
private capitalism. In part, it took over functions that had formerly been left to private 
capitalists: for instance, also imposed wage controls on private capitalism, in some areas 
more and in others less. All of this was brought about by the pressure exerted by masses 
of wage labourers and employees. It was in this way that they exercised their social 
influence: not by a direct take-over of administrative social functions by their 
organizations, but in a fundamentally different way, namely by exerting the necessary 
pressure upon the state apparatus to force it to restrict the interests of private capitalism 
and to safeguard the rights of the labourers and the employees. 

In other words: As a result of the revolutionary events in the Soviet Union and the 
economic slumps in other large societies, which had a more gradual effect, severe crises 
had been created and with them also the need to mobilize the existing state apparatus to 
prevent disintegration. ‘The state’ as an autonomous social power again stressed its 
original function of holding society together at all costs. 

This process was very evident in Germany. The need for cohesion in the acute crisis 
years 1929-39 was so great that the totalitarian and authoritarian idea of the state had 
hardly any difficulty in gaining wide acceptance. Admitted that the society was held 
together, the fact remains that the problems that had precipitated the social crisis were not 
solved. This is easily understood, for the ideology of the state is incapable of dealing with 
opposing interests in a. factual and practical way. Many of the anti-capitalistic measures 
adopted by fascism are to be explained on the basis of this process, measures that seduced 
some sociologists into looking upon fascism as a revolutionary social movement. But 
fascism was anything but a revolutionary movement. It was merely a precipitant change 
from the autocracy of private capitalism to state capitalism. In the Goring industries, state 
capitalism and private capitalism merged into one. Since anti-capitalistic tendencies had 
always been strong among German workers and employees, this change could be effected 
only by the use of anti-capitalistic propaganda. It was precisely this contradiction that 
made the victorious campaign of fascism the prototype of social irrationalism and, 
consequently, so difficult to grasp. Since fascism promised the masses of people a 
revolution against private capitalism and at the same time promised private capitalism 
salvation from the revolution, its moves could be nothing but contradictory, 
incomprehensible and sterile. This also accounts to a large extent for the compulsion that 
drove the German state apparatus into an imperialistic war. There was no possibility of 
regulating the conditions within the German society in an objective way. The use of 
police clubs and pistols to create the semblance of peace can hardly be called a ‘solution 

of social problems’. The ‘unification of the nation’ had been brought about in an 
illusionary way. We have learned to ascribe just as great, if not a greater, effectiveness to 
processes that are based on illusions as to processes that are based on hard reality. The 
effect of the church hierarchy has been an incontestable proof of this for thousands of 
years. Even though not a single factual problem of social life had been actually solved, 
the illusionary unification of the state created the impression that it was a fascist 
achievement. The untenability of such a solution was clearly brought out in the course of 
time. Social discord was greater than it had ever been, yet the illusionary cohesion of the 
state was sufficient to keep the German society from formal collapse for ten years. The 
factual solution of the existing discord was reserved for different and more fundamental 

Whether we are concerned with a capitalist state or a proletarian state, the function of 
affecting a unity of social discords is the same. Still we must bear in mind the difference 
in the original intention: In fascism the authoritarian state becomes the fixed prototype of 
the idea of the state, which means that masses of people are relegated to the status of 
permanent subjects. Lenin’s proletarian state had the intention of undermining itself 
continuously and of establishing self-administration. In both cases, however, the core is 
given by the ‘state control of consumption and production’. 

Let us return to our common denominator, the inability on the part of working masses 
of people to administrate society themselves. We will then have a better understanding of 
the logicality of the development of private capitalism to state capitalism which has taken 
place during the past twenty-five years. In Russia the working masses of people were 
capable of overthrowing the old tsarist state apparatus and replacing it by a state 
apparatus whose leaders stemmed from their own ranks. But they were not capable of 
going on to self-administration and of assuming the responsibility themselves. 

In other countries the working masses of people who were highly organized formally 
were not capable of advancing and putting into practice the self-administration that was a 
part of the ideology of their own organizations. Hence, the state apparatus was forced to 
take over more and more functions that actually devolved upon the masses. It took them 
over in their stead, as it were, for instance, in Scandinavia and in the United States. 

As basically different as the state control of social production and consumption was in 
Russia, Germany, Scandinavia and the United States on the basis of their historical 
development, there was still a common denominator, the incapacity on the part of masses 
of people to administrate society themselves. And the danger of authoritarian 
dictatorships follows logically and simply from this common basis of a development 
towards state capitalism. Whether a state functionary has democratic orientation or 
whether he is an authoritarian representative of the state is purely accidental. Viewed 
from the perspective of the structure and ideology of the working masses of people, there 
is, in reality not a single concrete guarantee that a dictatorship will not develop from state 
capitalism. It is precisely for this reason that, in the fight for genuine democracy and 
social self-administration, it is of decisive importance to single out and stress the role of 
man’s character structure and the shifting of man’s responsibility to the processes of love, 
work and knowledge. 

As painful and embarrassing as it may be, the fact remains that we are confronted with 
a human structure that has been shaped by thousands of years of mechanistic civilization 
and is expressed in social helplessness and an intense desire for a fuhrer. 

The German and Russian state apparatuses grew out of despotism. For this reason the 
subservient nature of the human character of masses of people in Germany and in Russia 
was exceptionally pronounced. Thus, in both cases, the revolution led to a new despotism 
with the certainty of irrational logic. In contrast to the German and Russian state 
apparatuses, the American state apparatus was formed by groups of people who had 
evaded European and Asian despotism by fleeing to a virgin territory free of immediate 
and effective traditions. Only in this way can it be understood that, until the time of this 
writing, a totalitarian state apparatus was not able to develop in America, whereas in 
Europe every overthrow of the government carried out under the slogan of freedom 
inevitably led to despotism. This holds true for Robespierre, as well as for Hitler, 
Mussolini and Stalin. If we want to appraise the facts impartially, then we have to point- 
out, whether we want to or not, and whether we like it or not, that Europe’s dictators, 
who based their power on vast millions of people, always stemmed from the suppressed 
classes. I do not hesitate to assert that this fact, as tragic as it is, harbours more material 
for social research than the facts related to the despotism of a tsar or of a Kaiser Wilhelm. 
By comparison, the latter facts are easily understood. The founders of the American 
Revolution had to build their democracy from scratch on foreign soil. The men who 
accomplished this task had all been rebels against English despotism. The Russian 
Revolutionaries, on the other hand, were forced to take over an already existing and very 
rigid government apparatus. Whereas the Americans were able to start from scratch, the 
Russians, as much as they fought against it, had to drag along the old. This may also 
account for the fact that the Americans, the memory of their flight from despotism still 
fresh in their minds, assumed an entirely different - more open and more accessible — 
attitude towards the new refugees of 1940, than Soviet Russia, which closed its doors to 
them. This may also explain why the attempt to preserve the old democratic ideal and the 
effort to develop genuine self-administration was much more forceful in the United States 
than anywhere else. We do not overlook the many failures and retardations caused by 
tradition, but in any event a revival of genuine democratic efforts took place in America 
and not in Russia. It can only be hoped that American democracy will thoroughly realize, 
and this before it is too late, that fascism is not confined to any one nation or any one 
party; and it is to be hoped that it will succeed in overcoming the tendency towards 
dictatorial forms in the people themselves. Only time will tell whether the Americans will 
be able to resist the compulsion of irrationality or whether they will succumb to it. 

I want to stress that we are not concerned with the question of guilt or evil will, but 
solely with the elucidation of developments on the basis of definite, already existing 

Let us briefly summarize the connections between the structure of the masses and the 
form of the state. 

The influence of the character structure of masses of people is decisive in determining 
the form that the state assumes, whether this structure is expressed passively or actively. 

It is the structure of the masses that tolerates imperialism. It is this structure that actively 
supports it. By the same token it is the structure of masses of people that is capable of 

overthrowing despotism, even though it does not have the ability to prevent the 
emergence of new despotism. It is this structure that promotes and supports genuine 
democratic efforts when the state operates in this direction. It is this structure that gives 
rise to national revolutionary movements when the genuine democratic international 
freedom movement fails. It is this structure that takes refuge in the illusionary unity of 
family, people, nation and state when democracy fails; but it is also this structure that 
passes on and develops the process of love, work and knowledge. Hence, only this 
structure is capable of imbibing the genuinely democratic tendencies of a state 
administration by taking over the administrative functions ‘above it’ piecemeal and 
learning to execute them through its own work organisations. It is beside the point, i.e., it 
is not of crucial importance, whether the change from state administration to self- 
administration takes place quickly or slowly. It is better for everyone if it takes place 
organically and without bloodshed. But this is possible only if the representatives of the 
state above society are fully conscious of the fact that they are nothing but the delegated 
executive organs of the working human community; that, in the strictest sense of the 
word, they are executive organs from necessity, i.e., they are executive organs made 
necessary by the ignorance and wretchedness in which millions of people live. Strictly 
speaking, they have the tasks of good educators, namely the task of making self-reliant 
adults of the children entrusted to their care. A society that is striving to achieve genuine 
democracy must never lose sight of the principle that it is the task of the state to make 
itself more and more superfluous, just as an educator becomes superfluous when he has 
done his duty towards the child. If this principle is not forgotten, bloodshed can be and 
will be avoided. Only to the extent to which the state clearly and unequivocally abolishes 
itself is it possible for work-democracy to develop organically; conversely, to the same 
extent to which the state tries to eternalize itself and to forget its educational task, it 
provokes human society to remind it that it came into being from necessity and must also 
disappear from necessity. Thus, the responsibility rests upon the state as well as upon 
masses of people, a responsibility in the good and not the bad sense of the word. It is the 
state’s duty not only to encourage the passionate yearning for freedom in working masses 
of people; /’/ must also make every effort to make them capable of freedom. If it fails to 
do this, if it suppresses the intense longing for freedom or even misuses it and puts itself 
in the way of the tendency towards self-administration, then it shows clearly that it is a 
fascist state. Then it is to be called to account for the damages and dangers that it caused 
by its dereliction. 



Work is the basis of man’s social existence. This is stressed by every social theory. In 
this respect, however, the problem is not that work is the basis of human existence. The 
problem relates to the nature of work: Is it in opposition to or in harmony with the 
biologic needs of masses of people? Marx’s economic theory proved that everything that 
is produced in the way of economic values comes about through the expenditure of man’s 
living working power, and not through the expenditure of dead material 

Hence, as the sole force that produces values, human working power deserves the 
greatest interest and care. In a society under the compulsion of market economy and not 
use economy, it is out of the question to speak of the care and careful treatment of human 
working power. Just as any other commodity, this working power is bought and used by 
the owners of the means of production (the state or individual capitalists). The ‘wage’ 
received by the working man corresponds approximately to the minimum of what he 
needs to reproduce his working power. Profit economy has no interest in sparing labour 
power. As a result of the progressive mechanization and economization of work, so much 
labour power is made superfluous that there is always a ready replacement for expended 
labour power. 

The Soviet Union abolished private but not state profit economy. Its original intent 
was to transform the capitalist ‘economization’ of work into a socialist ‘economization’ 
of work. It liberated the productive forces of the country and shortened working hours in 
general; in this way it succeeded in getting through the acute economic crisis of 1929-32 
without unemployment. There can be no doubt that the Soviet Union’s economizing 
measures, which were partially socialistic in the beginning, enabled it to satisfy the needs 
of society as a whole. However, the basic problem of a genuine democracy, a work 
democracy, is more than just a problem of economy of labour. More than anything else it 
is a matter of changing the nature of work so that it ceases to be an onerous duty and 
becomes a gratifying fulfilment of a need. 

The character-analytic investigation of the human function of work (an investigation 
that is by no means finished) offers us a number of clues which make it possible to solve 
the problem of alienated work in a practical way. Two basic types of human work can be 
differentiated with satisfying exactness: work that is compulsive and does not give any 
pleasure and work that is natural and pleasurable. 

To comprehend this differentiation, we must first of all free ourselves of several 
mechanistic ‘scientific’ views of human work. Experimental psychology considers only 
the question of which methods lend themselves to the greatest possible utilization of the 
human labour power. When it speaks of the joy of work, it means the joy an independent 
scientist or artist derives from his accomplishments. Even the psychoanalytic theory of 
work makes the mistake of solely and always orienting itself on the model of intellectual 
accomplishments. The examination of work from the point of view of mass psychology 
correctly proceeds from the relationship of the worker to the product of his work. This 
relationship has a socio-economic background and relates to the pleasure the worker 
derives from his work. Work is a basic biologic activity, which, as life in general, rests on 
pleasurable pulsation. 

The pleasure an ‘independent’ researcher derives from his work cannot be set up as 
the yardstick of work in general. From a social point of view (any other view would have 
nothing to do with sociology) the work of the twentieth century is altogether ruled by the 
law of duty and the necessity of subsistence. The work of hundreds of millions of wage 
earners throughout the world does not afford them the least bit of pleasure or biologic 
gratification. Essentially it is based on the pattern of compulsory work. It is characterized 
by the fact that it is opposed to the worker’s biologic need of pleasure. It ensues from 
duty and conscience, in order not to go to pieces, and is usually done for others. The 
worker has no interest in the product of his work; hence, work is onerous and devoid of 

pleasure. Work that is based on compulsion, regardless of what kind of compulsion, and 
not on pleasure, is not only non-fulfilling biologically, but not very productive in terms of 

The problem is momentous and not very much is known about it. To begin with, let us 
try to get a general picture. It is clear that mechanistic, biologically unsatisfying work is a 
product of the widespread mechanistic view of life and the machine civilization. Can the 
biologic function of work be reconciled with the social function of work? This is 
possible, but firmly entrenched ideas and institutions must be radically corrected first. 

The craftsman of the nineteenth century still had a full relationship to the product of 
his work. But when, as in a Ford factory, a worker has to perform one and the same 
manipulation year in and year out, always working on one detail and never the product as 
a whole, it is out of the question to speak of satisfying work. The specialized and 
mechanized division of labour, together with the system of paid labour in general, 
produce the effect that the working man has no relationship to the machine. 

At this point one will demur that there is indeed a need to work, a ‘natural’ 
gratification in work, which is inherent in the act of work itself. True, there is a biologic 
gratification in activity, but the forms into which this activity is pressed in the market 
economy kill the pleasure of work and the urge to work, and prevent them from 
manifesting themselves. Doubtless, it is one of work-democracy’s most urgent tasks to 
harmonise the conditions and forms of work with the need to work and the pleasure of 
work, in short, to eliminate the antithesis between pleasure and work. Here a vast new 
field is opened for human thought: Would it be possible and how would it be possible to 
retain the economization and mechanization of work and still not kill the pleasure of 
work? It is definitely conceivable that the worker can have a relationship to the finished 
product of work of which he performs only a part, without eliminating the division of 
labour. The joy of life received from working is an essential, indispensable element of 
man’s restructuralization from the slave of work to the master of production. If man 
could again have a direct relationship to the product of his work, he would also be happy 
to bear the responsibility for his work, a responsibility that today he does not have of 
refuses to have. 

One could cite the Soviet Union and say: ‘You work-democrats are Utopians and 
visionaries, though you pride yourselves on viewing reality unsentimentally. In the 
workers’ paradise of the Soviet Union, where is the abolition of the division of labour? 
Where is the pleasure of work? Where is the abolition of the wage system and market 
economy? Can’t you see from the results of the workers’ revolution itself just how 
impossible and illusionary your epicurean views of work are?’ 

The answer to this argument is: In 1 A 44 the mysticism of the masses is stronger than 
ever before, notwithstanding the progress of natural science. This is indisputable; but 
when one fails to achieve a goal towards which one strives - in this case, the rationality of 
masses of people - this in itself does not mean that it cannot be achieved. The 
fundamental question remains: Is the goal of pleasurable work a realistic goal or is it a 
Utopian goal? If it is a realistic goal, if it is intensely desired by everyone, then we must 
ask what is obstructing its realization. This question applies to the field of technology as 
well as it applies to the field of science. If it has not yet been possible to climb to the peak 

of Mount Everest that does not mean that it is an impossible feat! It is a question of the 
last eight hundred metres! 

It is precisely on this point that the antithesis between work-democracy and politics is 
clearly and simply disclosed: Our newspapers are full of political discussions which fail 
to take into consideration a single difficulty of the work process of masses of people. This 
is understandable, for the politician knows nothing whatever about work. Now let us 
imagine that a work-democratic community would exclude all irrationalism from 
its newspapers and would dedicate itself to the discussion of the conditions of pleasurable 
work. Working masses of people would immediately come forth with a flood of 
suggestions and proposals which would preclude any kind of politicizing once and for all. 
Just imagine how pleased a boss, an engineer, a specialist, would be to describe every 
aspect and step of the work process and to offer suggestions and advice for improvement. 
They would argue and compete with one another. There would be hot debates. How 
wonderful this would be. It took centuries before one hit upon the idea of building 
factories like recuperation homes and not like prisons, to build them with lots of light, 
good ventilation and washrooms and kitchens, etc. The pressure of the war economy 
caused radio music to be introduced into factories. It is incalculable how far this process 
would continue if the working people and not the politicians were in control of the press. 

In the first five years of the Soviet economy there were signs of work-democracy. For 
example, one-sided specialized training of the emerging generation was avoided and 
every effort was made to give young men and women an all-round preparation for 
professional life. In this way an attempt was made to offset the damages of the division of 
labour. The gap between ‘mental’ and ‘physical’ work was narrowed. The youth received 
such an all-round mental and physical preparation for their later professional life that any 
member of society could be employed in any other place of the work process. For 
example, employees in large firms were periodically changed from one job to another. 
Employees of different firms were exchanged. When well-trained specialists became part 
of the management of the firm, they were sent back to the machines after a while to 
prevent them from losing contact with their work and becoming administrative 

The self-administration affirms was expressed in the establishment of the so-called’ 
triumviral directorship’. Every firm was managed by employees who were elected for 
this purpose by the firm as a whole. In this way the entire body of employees participated 
directly in the management. Special ‘production conferences’ were held. These and many 
other facts showed that an effort was made to re-establish the unity of pleasure and work. 
At this point the opponents of work-democracy will take pleasure in pointing out that 
most of these improvements could not be maintained, that, for example, the production 
conferences of the firm’s body of employees degenerated into mere formalities in the 
course of time or were completely eliminated. To this we answer: Didn’t the Wright 
brothers make flying possible, though Daedalus and Icarus in antiquity and Leonardo da 
Vinci in the Middle Ages failed in their efforts to fly? The first attempts at a work- 
democratic management of the firms in the Soviet Union failed because the 
reorganisation of the firm’s management did not go hand in hand with the 
restructuralisation of the human structure. This was a lesson and the next time it can be 
done better. 

The triumviral directorship and the self-administration of firms were abolished when a 
single manager became the director of a firm, assumed individual responsibility and 
advanced to an independent position of leadership. True enough, this ‘director’ still 
stemmed from the workers, i.e., from the body of workers of the individual firm, but this 
autonomous manager of the firm was soon forced to develop all the characteristics of an 
overseer, bureaucrat or ruler who was no longer a part of the mass of working people. 
Indeed, it is here that we find the roots of the Soviet Union’s’ ruling class’. But this does 
not refute the fact that every work process is by nature and of necessity a work- 
democratic process. The self-regulation of work is spontaneously present. It is a matter of 
changing the structure of the working man in such a way as to liberate this natural work- 
democracy from the encumbrances of bureaucracy and to help it to develop its own forms 
and organisations. The work-democrat who is familiar with work processes does not 
deny the difficulties; on the contrary, he focuses all his energies on them because it is 
important for him to comprehend and overcome all difficulties. He does not derive any 
pleasure from the fact that there are difficulties, setbacks and failures. Only the politician, 
who builds his power over masses of people upon these difficulties, etc., sees reason to 
triumph here. The work-democrat does not use these failures to try to show that use 
economy is impossible and that man is immutable; it is precisely from his failures that he 
learns to do it better. One who is lame can easily laugh when a runner misses a hurdle. 

One of the major difficulties the Soviet government encountered very early was the 
fact that precisely the skilled and interested workers showed little enthusiasm for politics. 
Let it suffice to quote the statement of one functionary in support of this: ‘The love of 
one’s occupation,’ he said, 

is what is most important. Qualified workers are the Party’s best reserve. They are 
always gratified by their occupation and are always looking for new ways of improving 
their work. They are very conscious. When one converses with them and asks why they 
do not join the Party, the answer is that they don’t have the time. ‘I am interested,’ they 
say, ‘in finding ways to improve steel and mixing concrete.’ Then they invent something 
of their own, a tool, etc. It is precisely in such workers that we are interested, but we have 
still not found a way of engaging their political interests; nevertheless, they are the best 
and the most developed workers. They are always busy and are always looking for ways 
of improving their production [italics are mine, WR]. 

This functionary touched upon one of the basic questions of the relationship between 
politics and work. In Germany, too, one often heard it said: ‘Those of us who strive for 
freedom are surely on the right track and the workers understand us, but they want 
nothing to do with politics; we have the same difficulty with the industrial workers.’ 
Apart from the political disappointments that alienated the German industrial workers 
from the Communist party in the years after 1923, there was a very important 
circumstance which one repeatedly overlooked or could not comprehend. As a group, 
politicians understood nothing whatever about technical problems, and they were 
completely isolated from the domain of concrete work. The worker who had a keen 
interest in the technical problems of his work had ‘to attune himself to politics’ if he 
listened to a party politician in the evening. The politicians were not capable of 
developing social revolutionary attitudes and ideas from the work process itself; they 
simply knew nothing at all about work. And yet they tried to get around the workers with 
abstract ideas about high politics, which was of no interest to the workers. However, 

every detail of work-democracy can be organically developed from the technical aspects 
of work. How are we going to set up our firm when we have to administrate it? What 
difficulties will we have to overcome? What measures are we going to adopt to make out- 
work easier? What do we still have to learn to run our firm in a better way? What 
arrangements are we going to make about living quarters, meals, child care, etc.?’ Such 
questions will imbue all those who perform responsible work with the feeling: This firm 
is our problem child. The alienation of the worker from his work can be overcome only if 
the workers themselves learn to master the technical aspects of their firm, which, after all, 
they keep going to all intents and purposes. In this way the gap between skilled work and 
social responsibility, which is the ruination of society, is closed. Skilled work and social 
responsibility must go hand in hand, then the antithesis between work that gives pleasure 
and the mechanical conditions of work will be eliminated. Under fascism in Germany, 
the worker was not the least bit interested in the work process. He was a’ guided’, 
irresponsible subject who had to obey the orders of the firm manager who bore all the 
responsibility. Or he had the nationalistic illusion that he represented the firm as a 
‘German’, not as a socially responsible producer of use values, but as a ‘German’. This 
illusionary, nationalistic attitude was characteristic of the entire NS BO 5 ’’ work in 
Germany, which made every effort to conceal the worker’s very evident lack of interest 
in his work by the illusionary identification with the ‘state’. Well now, society is society 
and machine is machine, whether in Germany, America or Honolulu. As work itself, 
society and machine are international facts. ‘German work’ is nonsense! Natural work- 
democracy eliminates lack of interest. It does not conceal it by an illusionary 
identification with the’ state’, hair colour or nose shape; it eliminates lack of interest by 
making it possible for the workers to feel a real responsibility for their product and have 
the feeling: ‘This firm is ours.’ It is not a matter of having a. formal ‘ class consciousness’ 
or of belonging to a specific class, but of having a technical interest in one’s occupation, 
of having an objective relationship to one’s work, a relationship that replaces nationalism 
and class consciousness by a consciousness of one’s skills. Only when one is objectively 
and intimately related to one’s work is one capable of comprehending just how 
destructive the dictatorial and formal democratic forms of work are, not only for work 
itself but also for the pleasure of work. 

When a man takes pleasure in his work, we call his relationship to it ‘libidinous’. 
Since work and sexuality (in both the strict and broad senses of the word) are intimately 
interwoven, man’s relationship to work is also a question of the sex-economy of masses 
of people. The hygiene of the work process is dependent upon the way masses of people 
use and gratify their biologic energy. Work and sexuality derive from the same biologic 

The political revolution that was borne by the workers failed to inculcate the feeling 
that the workers themselves are responsible for everything. This failure resulted in a 
regression to authoritarian measures. Almost from the very beginning, the government of 
the Soviet Union had to cope with the difficulty that the workers had no respect for their 
tools. There was no end to the complaints about desertions from places of work and 
enormous turnover of workers in the various firms, etc. Borsen of 22 May 1934 carried a 
thorough report on the ‘unsatisfactory’ conditions existing in the coal districts, especially 
in the very important ‘Donbas’ district. The report stated that it was only by adopting 
extraordinary measures, namely by taking supernumerary engineers and technicians from 

their offices and sending them into the mines that they succeeded in raising the daily 
production from 120 to 148 thousand tons in January of that year; but even then not all of 
the machines were in operation, and in March of 1934 the daily output again fell to 140 
thousand tons. One of the chief causes of this production slump was the ‘negligence’ 
shown in the treatment of the machinery. Another cause was that, ‘with the approach of 
spring’, many workers sought to get away from the mines. According to the press, this 
was due to ‘lack of interest’. In the months of January and February, 33,000 (!) workers 
left the mines and 28,000 new workers were employed. One is inclined to believe that 
this large migration could have been averted if the management had provided better 
living conditions for the workers and recreational possibilities for their leisure hours. 

To the asceticism and human alienation of the pure economist, this was like a bee in 
his bonnet. Certainly ‘leisure time’ is intended for amusement and tine partaking of the 
joy of life. To be sure, clubs, theatres and other recreational facilities were set up in the 
firms. Thus, one sensed the importance of enjoyment for the hygiene of the work process. 
But officially and especially in social ideology, ‘work’ was defined as ‘the substance of 
life’ and declared to be the antithesis of sexuality. 

In the film The Way to Life, a revolt breaks out in spring in a factory operated and 
administrated by juvenile delinquents. They smash the machines and refuse to work. In 
the film this outbreak was ascribed to the fact that a rail line had been flooded, thus 
preventing the delivery of work material. That is to say, the’ explosion’ was attributed to 
the’ absence of work material’. It was clear, however, that the young men, who lived on 
their collectives without girls, had spring fever, which was merely released but not 
caused by the absence of work. Ungratified sexuality is readily transformed into rage. 
‘Prison explosions’ are outbreaks of sadism resulting from the absence of sexual 
gratification. Hence, when 33,000 workers leave their employment site all at once 
precisely in spring, there can be no doubt that the unsatisfying sex-economic conditions 
in the Soviet Union are the cause. By ‘sex-economic conditions’ we mean more than just 
the possibility of a regulated and satisfying love life; over and above this we mean 
everything that is related to pleasure and the joy of life in one’s work. However, Soviet 
politicians practised a kind of work therapy against sexual needs. Such practices are sure 
to backfire. In the course of more than a decade, during which I have been reading 
official Soviet literature, I have not encountered a single hint of such decisive biologic 

The relationship between the worker’s sexual life and the performance of his work is 
of decisive importance. It is not as if work diverted sexual energy from gratification, so 
that the more one worked the less need one would have for sexual gratification. The 
opposite of this is the case: The more gratifying one’s sexual life is, the more fulfilling 
and pleasurable is one ’s work, if all external conditions are fulfilled. Gratified sexual 
energy is spontaneously converted into an interest in work and an urge for activity. In 
contrast to this, one’s work is disturbed in various ways if one’s sexual need is not 
gratified and is suppressed. Hence, a basic principle of the work hygiene of a work- 
democratic society is: It is necessary to establish not only the best external conditions of 
work, but also to create the inner biologic preconditions to allow the fullest unfolding of 
the biologic urge for activity. Hence, the safeguarding of a completely satisfying sexual 
life for the working masses is the most important precondition of pleasurable work. In 
any society the degree to which work kills the joy of life, the degree to which it is 

represented as a duty (whether to a ‘fatherland’, the ‘proletariat’, the ‘nation’ or whatever 
other names these illusions may have), is a sure yardstick on which to measure the anti- 
democratic character of the ruling class of this society. Just as ‘duty’, ‘state’, ‘discipline 
and order’, ‘sacrifice’, etc., are intimately related to one another, so too’ joy of life’,’ 
work-democracy’, ‘self-regulation’, ‘pleasurable work’, ‘natural sexuality’, belong 
together inseparably. In academic philosophy there is a lot of barren hair-splitting over 
whether or not there is a biologic need to work. Here, as in many other areas, the lack of 
vital experience precludes the solution of the problem. The urge for activity originates in 
the organism’s biologic sources of excitation; therefore, it is a natural urge. But the forms 
of work are not biologically but socially determined. Man’s urge for activity, which is 
both natural and effortless, fulfils itself spontaneously with objective tasks and aims and 
enters the service of the gratification of social and individual needs. Applied to work 
hygiene: Work must be arranged in such a way that the biologic urge for activity is 
developed and gratified. This function excludes every form of moralistic-authoritarian 
work performed under the compulsion of duty, for it brooks no bossiness. It requires: 

1 . The establishment of the best external conditions of work (protection of labour, 
reduction of working hours, variety in the work function, establishment of a direct 
relationship of the worker to his product). 

2. The liberation of the natural urge for activity (the prevention of the formation of 
rigid character armouring). 

3. The creation of the preconditions that will enable sexual energy to be converted into 
an interest in work. To this end, sexual energy must 

4. be capable of being gratified and actually gratified. This requires the safeguarding 
of all the preconditions that are necessary for a completely satisfying, sex-economic, - 
socially affirmed sexual life of all working men and women (decent living quarters, 
contraception, affirmative sex-economy in the governing of childhood and adolescent 

The regressions in the Soviet Union must be comprehended objectively, and then we 
shall see that: The difficulties involved in changing the structure of the masses were 
incorrectly assessed. It was believed that one was dealing with a secondary, merely 
‘ideologic’ factor. That which was more or less moralistically condemned as ‘old 
traditions’, ‘indolence’, ‘proclivity for lower middle-class habits’, etc., was, as it turned 
out, a problem that was far more complex and difficult to solve than the mechanization of 
industry. Threatened by belligerent imperialistic powers, the Soviet government was 
forced to implement industrialization with all possible haste. To do this, it reverted to 
authoritarian methods. The initial efforts towards social self-administration were 
neglected and even dropped. 

Above all, the effort to convert compulsive, authoritarian work into voluntary, 
biologically pleasurable work, failed. Work was still performed under the pressure of 
rigid competition or under the illusionary identification with the state. As Stalin noted at 
the Seventeenth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, a 
‘depersonalization of work’ set in, an ‘indifference towards the material’ with which one 
worked and the products intended for consumers. The workers’ and peasants’ 
inspectorate, which was set up in the Central Committee in 1917 to act as a control on the 

Central Committee, proved to be inadequate, despite the fact that it was a fully 
democratic organization. Stalin stated: 

According to its organization, the workers’ and peasants’ inspectorate cannot 
adequately control the execution of the work. A few years ago, when our work in the 
economic sphere was simpler and less satisfactory and one was able to reckon with the 
possibility of an inspection of the work of all commissars and all industrial organizations, 
the workers’ and peasants’ inspectorate was in order. But now that our work in the 
economic sphere has grown and become more complex and there is no longer any 
necessity or possibility of supervising it from a central position, the workers’ and 
peasants’ inspectorate has to be changed. Now we have no need of supervision, but a 
surveillance of the implementation of the decisions of the Central Committee. Now we 
need a control over the implementation of the decisions of the central courts. Now we 
have need of an organization which, without setting itself the unpleasant goal of 
supervising everything, is capable of concentrating its entire attention on the task of 
controlling and checking the implementation of the decisions of the central institutions. 
Such an organization can only be the Soviet Control Commission of the Council of the 
Commissariat of the Soviet Union. This Commissariat shall be responsible to the Council 
of Commissars and shall have local representatives who are independent of the local 
organisations. However, to insure that it shall have sufficient authority and shall be in the 
position, if the need arises, to call any responsible functionary to account, it is necessary 
that the candidates for the members of the Soviet Control Commission be appointed by 
the Party Congress and ratified by the Council of the Commissars and the Central 
Committee of the US SR. It is my belief that only such an organization will be capable of 
strengthening Soviet control and Soviet discipline ... It is necessary that the members of 
this organisation shall be appointed and dismissed only by the highest organ, the Party 
Congress. There can be no doubt that such an organization will really be capable of 
safeguarding the control over the execution of the decision of the cen tral Party organs 
and of strengthening Party discipline [all italics are mine, WR] 

Here we have a clear articulation of the shifting of the self-administration of firms in 
the direction of authoritarian control. The workers’ and peasants’ inspectorate, which 
originally had the function of controlling the state leadership, disappeared completely and 
was replaced by organs appointed by the state having the function of controlling the work 
assigned to the workers and peasants. The workers and peasants said nothing; the fiasco 
of social democracy was complete. The incapacity for freedom on the part of masses of 
people was neither named nor perceived. 

This shift had become necessary in the interest of holding the Russian society 
together. The self-administration that had been aimed at had not developed or had not 
developed enough. It could not develop because the Communist party, though proclaim- 
ing the principle of self-administration, did not recognize the means of allowing this self- 
administration to unfold itself. Whereas, in the beginning the workers’ and peasants’ 
inspectorate had the task of controlling and supervising all the Soviet commissariats and 
economic organizations as the elected representatives of the Soviet Congress; whereas, in 
other words, masses of working people, who of course elected the Soviet, once had 
control of the party and the economy, this function was now transferred to the party and 
its organs, which were independent of the local Soviet organisations. If the workers’ and 
peasants’ inspectorate was an expression of the social tendency towards the self- 

regulation and self-administration of the masses, the new ‘Control Commission’ was the 
expression of the authoritarian implementation of party decisions. In short, it was only 
one of the many regressions from the intention of self-government to authoritarian 
control of society and its economy. 

Could this step be regarded as a consequence of the questionable nature of the 
Soviets? The answer is: It was not the Soviets, as the representatives of working men and 
women that were a fiasco, but the manipulation of these Soviets by politicians. At all 
events, the Soviet government had to cope with the problems of economy and those of 
work discipline. In view of the failure of the principle of self-government, the re- 
emergence of the authoritarian principle was inevitable. This does not mean that we 
condone the authoritarian principle. On the contrary, if we stress this catastrophic 
regression, we do so because we want to know the reasons for this setback in order, then, 
to eliminate the difficulties and help self-government to achieve victory after all. The 
responsibility for this failure falls heavily upon the working masses of people themselves. 
Unless they learn to eliminate their own weaknesses with their own ingenuity, they 
cannot hope to rid themselves of authoritarian forms of government. No one can help 
them; they and they alone are responsible. This and this alone is true and affords hope. 
The Soviet government cannot be reproached for reverting to authoritarian and moralistic 
methods of control; it bad no other choice if it did not want to endanger everything. It is 
to be reproached for neglecting self-government, for blocking its future development and 
for not creating its preconditions. The Soviet government is to be reproached for 
forgetting that the state has to wither away. It is to be reproached for neglecting to make 
the failure of the self-government and self-regulation of the masses the point of departure 
for new and greater efforts; for trying to make the world believe that, despite everything, 
this self-regulation was developing and that ‘complete socialism’ and genuine democracy 
prevailed. Illusions always prevent that which they pretend to be from really 
materiali2ing. Hence, it is clear that the first duty of every genuine democrat is to 
recognize such difficulties of development, to expose them and to help to overcome 
them. Open confession of dictatorship is far less dangerous than sham democracy. One 
can defend oneself against the former; the latter is like a creeper attached to the body of a 
drowning man. The Soviet politicians cannot escape the reproach of dishonesty. They did 
more harm to the development of genuine democracy than Hitler did. This is a heavy 
reproach, but it is unavoidable. It is useless merely to talk about self-criticism. As painful 
as it may be, one must also exercise it. 

The failure of self-administration and self-government in the Soviet Union led to an 
organization of work discipline, which was clearly manifested in the militaristic display 
of the first five-year plan. The science of economics was a ‘fortress’, and it was youth’s 
objective to ‘capture’ it. The press carried reports on the ‘campaign’ and ‘fronts’ as at a 
time of war; armies of workers ‘fought battles’; brigades stormed ‘narrow passes’. ‘Iron 
battalions’ took ‘combat sectors under heavy fire’. ‘Cadre’ was appointed. ‘Deserters’ 
were exposed to public ridicule; ‘manoeuvres’ were held; people were ‘alarmed’ and’ 
mobilized’. The’ light cavalry’ took possession of ‘commando outposts’ in dangerous 

These examples from Soviet literature suffice to show that the implementation of the 
gigantic five-year plan was possible only with the help of an ideology borrowed from a 
climate of war and creating a climate of war. The concrete fact of the masses’ incapacity 

for freedom was at the basis of all this. The acceleration of industrialization served to 
build up the military power of the country. Since the social revolution in the West failed 
to materialize, and since, above all, the self-administration of the Soviet society had not 
developed, the situation in Soviet Russia was indeed comparable to a state of war. The 
Soviet diplomacy of that time had the difficult task of delaying every military 
confrontation, especially the confrontation with Japan over the East Chinese railroad and 
Manchuria. And yet, owing to the objective developmental circumstances of that time, 
that which was unavoidable and also immediately useful - insofar as it did actually enable 
the Soviet Union to arm itself against imperialistic attacks - had two devastating after- 

1. If a country having a population of 160 million is held in a climate of war for years 
on end and is imbued with a militaristic ideology, this inevitably has an influence on the 
formation of the human structure, even if the purpose of this war ideology is attained. 
The militaristic structure of the mass leadership received autonomous powers. ‘Selfless 
devotion’, held up as the ideal of life in the education of the masses, gradually shaped the 
mass psychology that made it possible to carry out the dictatorial processes of purges, 
executions and coercive measures of all kinds. In view of all this, it is clear that the role 
of biopsychology in the development towards a free society should not be 

2. If a government that feels itself to be surrounded by belligerent powers exercises a 
definite kind of militaristic-ideologic influence on the masses for years on end and 
forgets its own task in the turmoil of solving the most difficult immediate tasks, then it 
can easily come about that it will maintain this atmosphere and continue to intensify it, 
even after , its purpose fulfilled, it has become superfluous. The masses of people are and 
remain alien, stand apart, vegetate or go beyond their needs into irrational chauvinism. 

The authoritarian regulation of the work process fits in perfectly with the militaristic 
atmosphere in which the Soviet man lived. There was and could be no thought of 
converting the methods of work into self-administration. As far as that goes, the heroism, 
especially the heroism displayed by the Comsomol in the struggle to build up industry, 
was worthy of admiration. And yet, how is the nature of the Comsomol’ s heroism to be 
differentiated from that of the Hitler youth or an imperialistic warrior? What about the 
fight for human (not national) freedom? It is deceptive to think that the heroism of an 
English or German soldier in the world wars was inferior to the heroism of a Comsomol 
youth in the building up of Soviet industry. If we fail to make a sharp and clear 
distinction between the emotion of heroism and the goal of freedom, we easily fall into a 
rut which no longer has anything to do with the pursuit of the goal (self-administration). 
Okay, the heroism was ‘necessary’, but the effort to effect a basic change in the structure 
of masses of people failed to bear fruit and, as a consequence thereof, the establishment 
of that social state, for which generations of freedom-fighters had given the best of their 
minds and their lives, also failed to materialize. Since the worker no longer had a 
‘personal’ interest in his work, it was necessary to revert to his ‘drive for acquisition’. 
The bonus system was reintroduced. Workers were assessed according to the value of 
their working power; those who did more were given better nourishment and living 
quarters. But this was not the worst of it: The most rigid form of the competitive wage 
system was reintroduced. All of this was ‘necessary’, but it should have been clear that it 
was diametrically opposed to the original goal. 

The fact that’ locks’ were made use of to keep the workers from leaving their work 
sites was also a clear indication of the moralistic, authoritarian regulation of work. For 
instance, the workers had to commit themselves to remain until the end of the five-year 
plan. At that time about 40 per cent of the industry of the Soviet Union was producing 
war materials. This meant that the work in industries producing consumer goods had to 
be considerably stepped up to keep it at the same level. ‘Work evenings’ were introduced 
for the purpose of spurring ambition. On such ‘evenings’ competitions were held to see 
who could set type the fastest, who could wrap confetti the fastest, etc. Black and red 
bulletin boards were introduced in various factories. The names of the ‘lazy’ workers 
were put on the black bulletin boards and the names of the ‘good and diligent’ workers 
were put on the red bulletin boards. Nothing was learned about the effect the moral 
elevation of some and the moral degradation of others had on character formation. But 
from all that we know about the use of such measures, it can be safely concluded that the 
effect on the formation of the human structure was disastrous. Those whose names 
appeared on the black bulletin boards could not help but have a feeling of shame, envy, 
inferiority, indeed, bitter hatred; whereas those whose names appeared on the red bulletin 
board could triumph over their competitors, could feel themselves to be winners, could 
give vent to their brutality and allow their ambition to overstep all natural bounds. For all 
that, those who lost out in such a competition were not necessarily the ‘inferior’ ones. On 
the contrary, we can assume that, with respect to their structures, some of the ‘blacks’ 
were freer human beings, even if more neurotic. And those who came out on top did not 
necessarily have to be free human beings, for we know that the traits that were spurred in 
them are precisely those traits we find in the overambitious man, the go-getter, the show- 
off, in short, the plague-ridden man. 

Just how little one still thought about the withering away of the state and the 
transferring of its functions to man is shown by a poem that was used as a means of 
spurring work discipline. 

Es braucht der Staatfur die Kolchose 
Zahllose stahleme Agitatoren. 

Vom Pazifik bis Minsk , von Wjatka bis Krim 
barrl fetter Ackerboden der Traktoren. 

Es ruft der Staat 
Vo ran, vorani Mann far Manni 
Tretet an! 

Den Hammer Nacht und Tag . 
scbwingen wir Scbiag aufSchlag, 
bauen taglich bundertmal 
dem Land ein neues Ross aus Stahl. 

[The state needs for the kolkhozes 
A host of agitators made of steel. 

From the Pacific to Minsk, from Vyatka to the Crimea 
Rich soil awaits the tractors. 

The state calls you! 

Forward! Forward I One and all I 
Form ranks I 

Day and night the hammer 
We swing, blow by blow, 

And a hundred times each day we build 
A steed of steel for our land.] 

‘The state needs’ - instead of ‘We need’. Such distinctions may mean nothing to the 
politician who sees everything in terms of economy, but they are of decisive importance 
for the restructuralization of man’s character. 

The so-called Stakhanov movement was a glaring indication of the misery of the work 
function. Those workers whose productivity was far above average were called 
Stakhanovists. Stakhanov was the first industrial worker to set a record in the 
performance of his work. It is clear that the lack of interest of masses of workers in their 
work lay at the basis of Stakhanov-ism. Pretence to superiority has little meaning here. 
The Soviet Union was forced to step up its production. Since the workers as a whole 
failed to meet production quotas voluntarily, the Soviet government was forced to adopt 
measures intended to exploit the workers’ ambition to excel. It was also forced to 
introduce rigid pay scales. But we must not allow the necessity of this process to divert us 
from the main problem: A minimal increase in the individual worker’s interest and ability 
in his work would have made the Stakhanov movement superfluous. In turn, this would 
have required a complete reversal in the sexual policies and sexual education of the 
Russian society. The knowledge and the will needed to accomplish this was lacking. 

The relapse into Stakhanovism had disastrous effects on the formation of man’s 
character structure. Only those who are inordinately ambitious and brutal are capable of 
excelling at competitive piecework. The great majority of the workers either fall far 
behind or leave off altogether. A gap arises between the majority of average workers and 
a small minority of work- athletes, who readily develop into a new ruling class. As long as 
the vast majority of workers have no enthusiasm for their work and no consciousness of 
personal responsibility about it, it is out of the question to speak of a change from 
coercive discipline to pleasurable work. Complaints will continue about the workers, 
poor production, absenteeism and negligent handling of machinery. This new gap 
produces envy and ambition among the weaker workers and presumption and racial 
arrogance among the stronger workers. A collective feeling of belonging and working 
together cannot emerge. Denunciations and reactions characteristic of the emotional 
plague will prevail. 

The way in which National Socialism or fascist ideologists appraise the democratic or 
non-democratic character of a process is a good standard. When nationalistic, 

chauvinistic, militaristic, imperialistic disciplinary politicians lavish praise on something, 
one has to be on the alert. For example, this is what Mehnert has to say: 

It very often happens that the Comsomols who come to a factory to help boost 
production are not received very cordially, for the methods which they use to incite the 
workers to achieve greater production are not, as a rule, very considerate. Especially 
hated are the workers’ correspondents who drag everything into the open and print it in 
their newspapers. The lack of tools and raw materials, the living conditions, which are 
usually bleak, the passive resistance of many workers, are often too much for the 
Comsomols. There have been times when they have come singing victorious songs and 
have had to depart with tears of desperation. 

So much for the factual report. And now follows fascist praise of the Soviet spirit: 

This myth is simple and clear. In our time, which is so devoid of and hungry for 
myths, it has a fascinating effect. And as every myth, it has created an ethos, an ethos 
which millions of people today bear in themselves and which seizes others every year. To 
the Russians, this ethos means: ‘Our need is great and the goals we have set ourselves are 
far off. We can achieve them only by struggling against the whole world, which fears and 
hates us, against enemies around us and in our own ranks. To the degree that we approach 
socialism, our distress will be lessened. But we can be victorious only if we all stand up 
for one and one stands up for all. We are all responsible to one another. When a plant 
produces poor weapons a time of war, it commits a crime against the nation as a whole, 
not only against the soldiers who lose their lives because of them. When a plant produces 
poor machinery today, it commits a crime against socialism, against all of us who are 
fighting to build it. Desertion from the front at a time of war is not an offence against an 
officer, but a betrayal of one’s comrades. Desertion from the front of the five-year plan 
and from socialism is not a strike against an employer, but a crime against each and every 
one of us. For this is our country, our factories and our future! 

The human structure that is formed from such a ‘disciplination’ of work is also infused 
with religious fanaticism and dull passive resistance. It has always been the case that the 
‘ethos’ of the few, with their discipline, leads to the incompetence of the large majority of 
people. Myth and ethos may be heroic, but they are always dangerous, undemocratic and 
reactionary measures. It is a question of the character, the will, the conviction, joy of 
assuming responsibility and en thusiasm of the broad masses of working men and women. 
They themselves must be willing and capable of sticking up for their own lives and 
insisting on the wealth of their own experience. An ethos based on the misery of masses 
and demanding such great sacrifices and discipline that only a few are capable of 
measuring up to it, an ethos that is so severe and continues to be so severe that even those 
who support it cannot keep the pace, may have an elevating effect; but it will never solve 
a single objective problem of the social community. A genuine democrat, a work- 
democrat, who cannot get to the masses owing to such an ethos, will simply exclaim: To 
bell with this ethos! 

Was the authoritarian, nationalistic regulation of work in the Soviet Union necessary? 


Was it capable of arming the country? 


Was this regulation a progressive measure intended to establish the self- 
administration of the Russian society? 


Did it solve any of the mounting social problems, or pave the way to their solution ? 
Did it, and what did it, contribute to the satisfaction of society? 


On the contrary, it produced a human nature imbued with and confined in nationalism, 
thus laying the foundation for the Red one-man dictatorship. 

The military power of a society plays no role whatever in assessing the structure and 
tendencies of that society with respect to its freedom. The conducting of war, the building 
of industry, the waving of banners, the holding of parades, are child’s play compared 
with the task of creating a human species that is free. Friend and foe readily come to 
terms where militarism and chauvinistic patriotism prevail. But the babble of Babylon 
was nothing compared with the confusion surrounding the concept ‘freedom’. We want 
to find our bearings again on a statement made t>y a military disciplinarian, a man who 
would fight with the same subjective honesty and conviction for an America striving for 
democracy as he would fight for an America regressing towards fascism. 

In 1943 Captain Rickenbacker paid an official visit to the Soviet Union. Following his 
return, a detailed article on his impressions appeared in the 18 August issue of the New 
York Times, I quote: 

. . . Captain Rickenbacker remarked that whereas for the last several years Russia has 
been moving to the right, the United States, at the same time, has been ‘tending to the 

‘If they keep going on as they are you’ll find Russia coming out of this war the 
greatest democracy in the world, while if we keep going on the way we are we’ll be 
where they were twenty- five years ago,’ he declared. 

‘Do you mean to suggest that Russia is moving toward capitalism while we are 
moving toward bolshevism?’ Captain Rickenbacker was asked. 

‘Yes, in a sense,’ he replied. 

. . . Among the things he was particularly impressed with in Russia was the iron 
discipline in industrial plants, severe punishment for chronic absenteeism, to the extent of 
removal from the job to the bread line, incentive pay, compulsory overtime work and’ no 
labour difficulties.’ The Russians, Captain Rickenbacker said, work eight hours a day, six 
days a week, with an additional three hours a day overtime at time and one-half. . . 

‘. . . Bolshevism in Russia is not what we have been led to believe by communistic 
enthusiasts in this country. They have been constantly turning to the right, as evidenced 
in many ways, during the last twelve months. Nowhere in the world have I seen so much 
respect for progressive rank in the Army as I witnessed in Russia from the bottom to the 
top, which is in the direction of capitalism and democracy. Officers’ uniforms have in 
great measure been copied from the old Czaristic design, and the press is selling pre- 
revolutionary heroes to the people.’ 

We have learned to listen to conservative voices, to comprehend them and to admit the 
validity of their factual statements when they coincide with the truth. We have also 
learned to understand that conservative facts and reactionary developments issue from the 
biopathy of masses of people. We differ from an authoritarian such as Rickenbacker in 
that we do not feel any sense of triumph over the discovery of unpleasant facts. We 
simply ferret out the natural processes, for it is when these processes are blocked that the 
disciplinarian’s views are correct. If that which Rickenbacker understands by democracy 
prevails in the Soviet Union, then we want nothing to do with it. ‘Capitalism’ and 
‘democracy’ cannot be equated. Freedom cannot be inferred from military fitness. To 
praise the Soviet Union of today and to reject the development of social democracy in 
Russia during Lenin’s time is to eliminate every possibility of establishing clarity. 
Statements as ridiculous as the one quoted above are possible only if the history of a 
country and its bitter fight for liberation from slavery are not known. Rickenbacker 
recommended the Soviet Union of 1943 as a model for America. He recommended it 
because he was annoyed by the absenteeism in American factories. He was impressed by 
the facility with which the dictatorship appears to be capable of coping with social 
difficulties. But if that is the case, what is all the fuss about freedom, liberation war, the 
new world? This Babylonian babble is a consequence of ‘politicalisin’ . In conclusion, I 
should like to add this word of warning while there is still time: If things continue as they 
have, there is a very real possibility that America will soon be at war with Russia. The 
Soviet Union will tolerate neither a genuinely democratic America nor a genuinely 
democratic Germany. One of the many reasons for this will be the bad conscience that 
weighs heavily upon the leadership of a state that started out to conquer freedom for the 
world and ended in an antiquated chauvinism, so bitterly fought against by its founders. 



Social conditions throughout the world have recently fallen into a state of flux. The 
capitulation of the fuhrer of Italian political irrationalism set this process in motion. 
Sooner or later it will be followed by the capitulation of German political irrationalism. 
The process of social reconstruction in Europe will begin with a vacuum in social life, 
which will be chiefly characterized by political chaos. To cope with this social chaos, the 
working men and women of all vitally necessary occupations and organizations must be 
made conscious of the importance of fulfilling their social obligation of work. It cannot 
be assumed that anyone of the old or any newly founded political party will be capable of 
engineering a factual and rational reorganization of social conditions. Hence, as soon as 
circumstances permit, it is necessary that the most outstanding, most perceptive and 
politically unattached representatives of all vitally necessary spheres of work get together 
at national and international conferences to discuss and solve in work-democratic 
cooperation the practical tasks of individual and social life for which they are responsible. 
Once such non-political and strictly practical work conferences have begun to function, 
their activity will develop with the logic and consistency that are characteristic of 
objective and rational work. It has been clear for some time that the responsibility for all 
future developments rests upon the vitally necessary work of all occupations. In short, it 

rests upon the shoulders of the representatives of these occupations, and not upon any one 
body having a purely ideologic orientation. This is a conclusion that has been arrived at 
independently in various countries of Europe and in America. 


Work-democracy is the natural process of love, work and knowledge that governed, 
governs and will continue to govern economy and man’s social and cultural life as long 
as there has been, is and will be a society. Work-democracy is the sum total of all 
functions of life governed by the rational interpersonal relations that have come into 
being, grown and developed in a natural and organic way. 

Work-democracy is not an ideological system. Nor is it a ‘political’ system which 
could be imposed upon human society by the propaganda of a party, individual 
politicians or any group sharing a common ideology. There is no single, formal political 
measure by means of which work-democracy could be ‘introduced’. Work-democracy 
cannot be introduced in the same way as a republic or a totalitarian dictator is introduced. 
There is a very simple reason for this: Natural work-democracy is always present and is 
always functioning, whether this or that political party or ideological group knows of its 
existence or not. The process of natural work-democracy can be in diametrical opposition 
to social institutions or it can be more or less in accord with them. Wherever it functions, 
however, this work-democratic process demands that the social ideologies and 
institutions be brought into line with natural needs and interpersonal relations, in the 
same way as it is clearly expressed in natural love, vitally necessary work, and natural 
science. These vital social functions can be thwarted or they can be encouraged; working 
men and women can be conscious or unconscious of them. But they can never be 
destroyed. Hence, they form the solid basis of every rational social process. 

Ideological political systems are based on views of the natural process of life. They 
can further or thwart the natural process of life. However, these systems are not part of 
the foundation of human society. They can be democratic, in which case they advance the 
natural process of life; or they can be authoritarian and dictatorial, in which case they 
become involved in a deadly conflict with this process. 

Work-democracy cannot be imposed upon people as a political system. Those who 
perform vitally necessary work’ either are conscious of their responsibility for social 
processes or this consciousness evolves organically, as a tree or the body of an animal. 
This growth of the consciousness of radical responsibility is the most important 
precondition to prevent political systems from proliferating like tumours on the social 
organism, political systems that sooner or later have to lead to social chaos. Moreover, 
the consciousness of social responsibility on the part of the working men and women of 
all occupations is the most important precondition for the gradual harmonizing of the 
institutions of human society with the natural functions of work-democracy. Political 
systems come and go, without any essential change taking place in the foundation of 
social life. Nor does social life cease to function. But the pulse of human society would 
stop once and for all if the natural functions of love, work and knowledge would cease 
even for just a day. 

Natural love, vitally necessary work, and natural science are rational functions of life. 
By their very nature, they cannot be anything but rational. Hence, they are arch enemies 
of any form of irrationalism. Political irrationalism, which plagues, disfigures and 
destroys our life, is, in the true psychiatric sense of the word, a perversion of social life, a 
perversion brought about by the failure to recognize the natural functions of life and by 
the exclusion of these functions from the regulation and determination of social life. 

Every form of totalitarian-authoritarian rulership is based on the irrationalism 
inculcated in masses of people. Every dictatorial political view, regardless, who is its 
exponent, hates and fears its arch enemy, the functions of love, work and knowledge. 
They cannot co-exist. Dictatorship is capable only of suppressing the natural functions of 
life or of exploiting them for its narrow purposes; it can never promote and protect these 
functions or perform them itself. In doing so, it would destroy itself. 

From this it follows that: 

1. It is not necessary and would only be catastrophic to introduce newly conceived 
political systems. What is needed is the coordination of the natural functions of life with 
the regulation of future social processes. It is not necessary to create anything new; we 
must merely remove the obstacles that thwart the natural social functions, no matter in 
what form these obstacles turn up. 

2. The representatives of these natural functions of life are those who perform the best 
work in all vitally necessary occupations. It is not their political inclinations that enable 
them to function in a work-democratic way, but solely their activity as industrial workers, 
farmers, teachers, physicians, child educators, writers, administrators, technicians, 
scientists, researchers, etc. If the representatives of vitally necessary work would form an 
international organization having concrete social and legal authority, such an 
organization would be invincible. It would foredoom international political irrational-ism. 

3. Social production and consumption are naturally and organically interlaced with 
one another. The establishment of organizations giving practical and formal expression to 
this natural nexus would be a strong social guarantee against further catastrophes brought 
about by irrationalism. The responsibility for the course of the gratification of human 
needs would rest exclusively on the producers and consumers; it would not have to be 
imposed upon them, against their will and protest, by an authoritarian state 
administration. This assuming of responsibility for one’s own fate, represented in the 
already existing (i.e., not to be newly created) organizations of producers and consumers 
in all fields, would be a decisive step towards the establishment of the work-democratic 
self-administration of society. Since all work processes are dependent upon one another; 
since, moreover, consumption determines production; a naturally evolved and organically 
functioning organization is given in the social basis, which is alone in a position to 
assume the responsibility for Europe’s further social development. 

4. Politically, work-democracy is oriented neither towards the ‘Left’ nor towards the 
‘Right’. It includes everyone who performs vitally necessary work; hence, it is oriented 
solely towards the future. It is not part of its inherent intention to be against ideologies, 
nor against political ideologies. But, if it is to function at all, it must of necessity and in 
terms of its nature be sharply opposed to every ideological orientation and certainly to 
every political party that obstructs it in an irrational way. At bottom, however, work- 

democracy is not ‘against’, as is usually the case in politics. It is for the concrete 
formulation and solution of problems. 


Neither the idea that democracy is the best possible form of social cohabitation nor the 
idea that work and consumption are the natural foundation of social existence is new; 
neither its anti-dictatorial attitude nor its determination to fight for the natural rights of all 
working men and women of all the nations of this planet is new. All of these demands, 
ideals, programmes, etc., have been advocated in the liberal, socialist, early communist, 
Christian Socialist and other political organizations for centuries. 

But this much is new: The representatives of work-democracy neither established 
political parties as a means of pushing through a work-democratic organization nor did 
they merely reiterate the old demands, ideals and programmes and let it go at that. In a 
genuinely scientific way, work-democrats asked themselves why it has been that until 
now all democratic demands, programmes and ideals have met with so many failures and, 
in Europe and in Asia, have had to give way to reactionary dictators. 

For the first time in the history of sociology, a. possible future regulation of human 
society is derived not from ideologies or conditions that must be created, but from natural 
processes that have been present and have been developing from the very beginning. 
Work-democratic ‘polities’ is distinguished by the fact that it rejects all politics and 
demagogism. Masses of working men and women will not be relieved of their social 
responsibility. They will be burdened with it. Work-democrats have no ambition to be 
political fuhrers, nor will they ever be permitted to develop such an ambition. Work- 
democracy consciously develops formal democracy, which is expressed in the mere 
election of political representatives and does not entail any further responsibility on the 
part of the electorate, into a genuine, factual and practical democracy on an international 
scale. This democracy is borne by the functions of love, work and knowledge and is 
developed organically. It fights mysticism and the idea of the totalitarian state, not 
through political attitudes, but through practical functions of life, which obey their own 
laws. All this is new in work-democracy. 

Work-democracy adds a decisive piece of knowledge to the scope of ideas related to 
freedom. The masses of people who work and bear the burden of social existence on their 
shoulders neither are conscious of their social responsibility nor are they capable of 
assuming the responsibility for their own freedom. This is the result of the century-long 
suppression of rational thinking, the natural functions of love and the scientific 
comprehension of the living. Everything related to the emotional plague in social life can 
be traced back to this incapacity and lack of consciousness. It is work-democracy’s 
contention that, by its very nature, politics is and has to be unscientific, i.e., that it is an 
expression of human helplessness, poverty and suppression. 

In short, work-democracy is a newly discovered bio-sociologic, natural and basic 
function of society. It is not a political programme. 

I alone bear the responsibility for this brief summary and statement. 





This chapter will deal with the biologic miscalculation that, as history proves, all 
freedom movements have made. It is a miscalculation that nipped freedom efforts in the 
bud or frustrated satisfactory regulations of social life, which had already been attained. 
This endeavour is prompted by the conviction that only work-democracy can create the 
basis of genuine freedom. My experiences in social discussions lead me to believe that 
the exposure of this miscalculation will very likely be taken amiss. It imposes the highest 
demands upon the will to truth of each and every one of us. In actual practice it implies a 
great burden in the daily struggle for existence, for it transfers all social responsibility to 
the working men and women in factories, on farms, in clinics, offices, laboratories, etc. 

We have found that facts of a. fundamental nature, i.e., facts that, over and above the 
political hubbub of everyday life, relate to the ancient history of the human species, 
relate, indeed, to man’s biologic constitution, are rejected with various arguments. At 
bottom, however, the motive is always irrational. When peace reigns, when everything is 
proceeding at a leisurely pace, then it is said: ‘Everything is quite all right as it is; the 
League of Nations is a guarantee of peace; our diplomats settle conflicts in a peaceful 
way; the generals are only decorations. So why pose questions that would be relevant 
only in the event of a war? We have just ended a war to end all wars - there is no need to 
get excited.’ Then, when it is shown that such arguments were based on illusions, when 
the League of Nations and the diplomats have given ample testimony of their inability to 
cope with pressing problems, when a new war rages - this time one that is worldwide and 
more brutal than anything known in history, then all attention is concentrated on ‘winning 
the war’. Then it is said: ‘We have to win the war first. This is no time for profound 
truths. We will need those when the war has been won, for then we will also have to 
secure peace.’ Thus, a clear-cut distinction is made between the conduct of war and the 
winning of the war, between the termination of hostilities and the conclusion of peace. 
Only after the war has been won and the peace concluded, does one want to proceed to 
secure peace. One fails to see that it is precisely in the heat of the war that those deep 
social convulsions take place that destroy old institutions and remould man, that, in other 
words, the seeds of peace germinate in the devastations of war. Man’s intense longing for 
peace is never so strong as it is at a time of war. Hence, in no other social circumstance 
are there so many strong impulses intent on changing the conditions that produce war. 
Man learned to construct dams when he suffered from floods. Peace can be hammered 
out only at a time of war, then and only then. 

Instead of learning the lessons of war on the spot, so that a new world can be built 
immediately, important decisions are put off until diplomats and statesmen are so 
involved in peace treaties and reparations that again there is no time for ‘basic facts’. In 
the transition period from the cessation of hostilities to the conclusion of a sham peace, 

we hear statements like this: ‘First the damages of war must be repaired; the war 
production has to be converted to peace production; our hands are full. Before dealing 
with these basic facts, let us arrange everything peacefully.’ In the meantime the lessons 
of war have been forgotten; once again everything has been arranged in such a way that 
in the course of one generation a new, even more horrible war has broken out. Once again 
there is ‘no time’ and one is ‘too busy’ to concern oneself with ‘basic truths’. The 
emotions of wartime rapidly give way to the old rigidity and emotional apathy. 

If someone, as I myself, has gone through this procrastination of essential questions 
and heard these same arguments for the second time in forty-five years of life; if he 
recognizes in the new catastrophe all the characteristics of the old catastrophe; he has to 
admit, however reluctantly, that no essential change has taken place since the first 
catastrophe (unless one considers the improvement of the means of destruction and a 
more widespread development of human sadism as essential changes). Slowly and surely 
the conviction takes shape in such a man that: For some curious reason or another , 
masses of people do not want to get to the root of the secret of war. They fear the truths 
that could bring them a painful cure. 

People like to think of war as a ‘social thunderstorm’. It is said that it ‘purifies’ the 
atmosphere; it has its great benefits -it ‘hardens the youth’ and makes them courageous. 
As far as that goes, people say, we have always had and will always have wars. They are 
biologically motivated. According to Darwin, the ‘struggle for existence’ is the law of 
life. Why, then, were peace conferences organized? Nor have I ever heard that bears or 
elephants split up into two camps and annihilate one another. In the animal kingdom 
there are no wars within the same species. Like sadism, war among one’s own kind is an 
acquisition of ‘civilised man' . No, for some reason or another, man shies away from 
putting his finger on the causes of war. And there can be no doubt that better ways than 
war exist of making youth fit and healthy, namely, a satisfying love life, pleasurable and 
steady work, general sports and freedom from the malicious gossip of old maids. In short, 
such arguments are hollow chatter. 

What is this fact anyhow? 

Why do people fear it? 

Is it possible that in his inmost self every man knows this fact, but is afraid to admit it 
to himself and to his neighbour? 

It boils down to this: Av a result of thousands of years of social and educational 
distortion, masses of people have become biologically rigid and incapable of freedom. 
They are not capable of establishing peaceful co-existence. 

As cynical and hopeless as these two succinct sentences may sound, they contain the 
answer to the three above questions. 

No one wants to acknowledge the truth they contain, or even listen to them. No 
democratic statesman would know what to make of it. Every honest man knows it. All 
dictators have built their power on the social irresponsibleness of masses of people. They 
have made no bones about consciously exploiting this fact. For years on end, far more 
than half the civilized German people heard the assertion that the masses merely 
regurgitate what has been funnelled into them. They reacted to this with slavish loyalty. 

They themselves brought about this ignominious situation. It is ridiculous to contend that 
the psychopathic general was capable of oppressing seventy million people all by himself. 

‘How’s that?’ the suave politician and philanthropist will ask. ‘You say that the 
Americans are incapable of freedom? And what of the heroic rebels of Czechoslovakia, 
Yugoslavia, the British Commandos, the martyrs in Norway, the armies in Soviet Russia? 
How can you dare to cast a slur upon democracies?’ 

We do not mean military groups, governments, minorities, individual scientists or 
thinkers! But genuine social freedom is more than a question of groups. The trend of 
society is determined solely by the overwhelming majority of working men and women , 
whether they passively tolerate or actively support tyranny. Are the masses themselves 
capable of administering society without their statesmen or parties telling them what to 
do and how to do it? They are, to be sure, capable of enjoying given freedoms, of 
performing assigned work, of being against war and for peace. Thus far, however, they 
have not been capable of safeguarding work against abuse, regulating it through their 
own organizations, promoting rapid development, preventing wars, mastering their own 
irrationalism, etc. 

The masses cannot do these things because until now they have never been in the 
position to acquire and practise this ability. The self-administration of society by the 
masses, their administration of the organizations in charge of production and 
consumption, can be the only possible answer to this war. One who takes the masses 
seriously demands their full responsibility, for they alone are peacefully disposed. The 
responsibility and the capacity to be free must now be added to the love of peace. 

As bitter as it may be, the fact remains: It is the irresponsible-ness of masses of people 
that lies at the basis of fascism of all countries, nations and races, etc. Fascism is the 
result of man’s distortion over thousands of years. It could have developed in any country 
or nation. It is not a character trait that is confined specifically to the Germans or Italians. 
It is manifest in every single individual of the world. The Austrian saying ‘Da kann man 
halt nix machen’ expresses this fact just as the American saying ‘Let George do it’. That 
this situation was brought about by a social development which goes back thousands of 
years does not alter the fact itself. It is man himself who is responsible and not ‘historical 
developments’. It was this shifting of the responsibility from living man to ‘historical 
developments’ that caused the downfall of the socialist freedom movements. However, 
the events of the past twenty years demand the responsibility of the working masses of 

If we take freedom ’ to mean first and foremost the. responsibility of each individual 
to shape personal, occupational and social existence in a rational way, then it can be said 
that there is no greater fear than the fear of the creation of general freedom. Unless this 
basic problem is given complete priority and solved, there will never be a freedom 
capable of lasting more than one or two generations. The solution to this problem will 
require more thought, more decency, more conscientiousness, more of an economic, 
educational and social readjustment in the social life of masses of people than all the 
efforts which were made in former wars (and will have to be made in wars still to come) 
and post-war reconstruction programmes taken together. This one problem and its 
solution contain everything that the most audacious and most agonized thinkers of history 
have tried to grasp by the idea of international social revolution. We are the protagonists 

and bearers of a stupendous revolutionary upheaval. If one must indeed suffer, then 
‘blood, sweat and tears’ should at least have a rational goal, namely: the responsibility of 
the working masses of people for social life! This conclusion follows with hard logic 
from the following statements: 

1 . Every social process is determined by the attitude of the masses. 

2. The masses are incapable of freedom. 

3. When the masses achieve the capacity to be free through their own efforts, this will 
be genuine social freedom. 

What prompts me to depart from the usual policy of veiling such generally known 
facts, especially as I make no claim to political leadership? 

There are several motives. For years I demurred from pursuing them, simply because I 
feared the consequences. Again and again I hesitated to put my ideas down on paper. I 
tried to extricate myself from this perplexity by telling myself that I of course was not a 
politician and that political events were no concern of mine. Or I evaded the issue by 
persuading myself that I had more than enough to keep me busy with my orgone 
biophysics and saw no reason why I should burden myself with an embarrassing, 
thankless basic social question, which seemed hopeless for the time being anyhow. I tried 
to make myself believe that it was my secret political ambition that was prompting me to 
get involved in the turmoil of irrational political ideologies. I demurred to give in to such 
an ambition. The responsible politicians and statesmen were bound to come out with 
these facts sooner or later! 

After years of painful and harassing oscillations and attempts to fight shy of these 
facts, I had finally to yield to the pressure exerted on me as well as on all my co-workers 
by our investigation of the phenomena of life. A researcher has an allegiance to truth, 
over which no other allegiance, however highly esteemed, can take precedence. What 
makes it particularly difficult to fulfil this allegiance is the fact that communications of 
truth, instead of being looked upon as natural, have a highly dangerous potential as things 
now stand. 

Basically speaking, this is merely a summary of facts, which, in an isolated way, have 
been well known to us for a long time: 

1 . Mankind is biologically sick. 

2. Politics is the irrational social expression of this sickness. 

3. Whatever takes place in social life is actively or passively, voluntarily or 
involuntarily, determined by the structure of masses of people. 

4. This character structure is formed by socio-economic processes and it anchors and 
perpetuates these processes. Man’s biopathic character structure is, as it were, the 
fossilization of the authoritarian process of history. It is the biophysical reproduction of 
mass suppression. 

5. The human structure is animated by the contradiction between an intense longing 
for and fear of freedom. 

6. The fear of freedom of masses of people is expressed in the biophysical rigidity of 
the organism and the inflexibility of the character. 

7. Every form of social leadership is merely the social expression of the one or the 
other side of this structure of masses of people. 

8. It is not a question of the Versailles Peace Treaty, the oil wells of Baku or two to 
three hundred years of capitalism, but a question of four to six thousand years of 
authoritarian mechanistic civilization, which has ruined man’s biologic functioning. 

9. Interest in money and power is a substitute for unfulfilled happiness in love, 
supported by the biologic rigidity of masses of people. 

10. The suppression of the natural sexuality of children and adolescents serves to 
mould the human structure in such a way that masses of people become willing upholders 
and reproducers of mechanistic authoritarian civilization. 

11. Thousands of years of human suppression are in the process of being eliminated. 

These are more or less the results of our research on the character and its relationship 
to social processes. 

We have a threefold interest in the development of a free world: personal, objective 
and social. 

1. The personal interest is determined by the threat to our existence as members of this 
mortally sick society. Those, like myself, who lost their home, family and possessions, 
who experienced three and a half years of murder in war at first hand, who saw many 
friends die and go to pieces, who witnessed mass migrations and destruction of property, 
etc., in the First World War, understand what millions upon millions of men and women 
are going through on this planet today. We want an end to this ignominy! It is 
ignominious that a handful of Prussian crooks and perverse neurotics, functioning as the 
‘fuhrer’ of one thing or another, are able to exploit the social helplessness of hundreds of 
millions of industrious and decent men and women. The ignominy is all the more 
poignant in view of the fact that these same millions of men and women unwittingly and 
naively allowed themselves to be taken in by these political swindlers (and this was the 
case not only in Germany, but elsewhere also). All we want is to be able to perform our 
work in peace, to love our wives or husbands without danger, to raise our children free of 
the miasma of the plague. In short, we do not want to be bothered, deceived and led 
around by the nose by a handful of political swindlers in this short life of ours. Our lives 
have been crushed by politics long enough! We want an end of it! Once and for all!! 

2. The protagonists of the fascist plague have looked through the incapacity for 
freedom of masses of people and have declared that it is an absolute biologic fact. They 
have put alluring irrational race theories into the world, have divided mankind into 
biologically immutable superior and inferior races and have conferred upon themselves, 
who are the most sick and most vicious, the biologic title of ‘superman’. We have the 
answer to this fraud: The race theory is a mystical view of life. Man’s natural happiness 
in love and security in life will be the doom of this view. 

3. Our institute is faced with a momentous task. We have to prepare ourselves for two 
basically different possibilities: 

a. In the event that this Second World War will force the answer to social chaos to the 
surface and into social consciousness, we will be called upon to deal with great tasks. We 
will have to assume an enormous responsibility. We have to prepare ourselves for this 

possibility in advance. We must have a clear conception of our tasks. Our knowledge of 
human reactions and the effects of the fascist pestilence will have to be clearly organized 
if we do not want to fail. Our tasks can be fulfilled only within the framework of the 
general struggle for the establishment of genuine freedom. If we cherish the illusion that 
man’s structure is immediately capable of freedom and self-administration, that, in other 
words, we need merely eliminate the plague of party fascism to make it possible for 
social freedom to function, to put justice before injustice, truth before falsehood, decency 
before meanness, then we too will be doomed together with everything else that is based 
on such illusions. This much is clear. The development of freedom requires that one be 
ruthlessly free of illusions, for only then will one succeed in rooting out irrationalism 
from masses of people to open the way to responsibility and freedom. To idealize masses 
of people and to commiserate with them will only produce fresh misfortunes. 

The various freedom organizations in Europe treated this sickness on the part of 
masses of people as a quack might treat a paralysed patient, namely by persuading him 
that he was not really paralysed and would surely be able to dance a polka if it were not 
for the bad wolf (in 1914, the war industrialists; in 1942, the psychopathic generals). A 
paralysed patient may like to hear such a consolation and rejoice in it, but he still won’t 
be able to walk. The decent physician would proceed ‘ruthlessly’; he would be very 
careful not to arouse any false hopes in the patient. He would use every means at his 
disposal to determine the nature of the paralysis and to decide whether it is curable or not. 
If, fundamentally, it is curable, then he will find the means of curing it. 

The fascist dictator declares that the masses of people are biologically inferior and 
crave authority, that, basically, they are slaves by nature. Hence, a totalitarian 
authoritarian regime is the only possible form of government for such people. It is 
significant that all dictators who today plunge the world into misery stem from the 
suppressed masses of people. They are intimately familiar with this sickness on the part 
of masses of people. What they lack is an insight into natural processes and development, 
the will to truth and research, so that they are never moved by a desire to want to change 
these facts. 

On the other hand, the formal democratic leaders made the mistake of assuming that 
the masses of people were automatically capable of freedom and thereby precluded every 
possibility of establishing freedom and self-responsibility in masses of people as long as 
they were in power. They were engulfed in the catastrophe and will never reappear. 

Our answer is scientific and rational. It is based on the fact that masses of people are 
indeed incapable of freedom, but it does not - as racial mysticism does - look upon this 
incapacity as absolute, innate and eternal. It regards this incapacity as the result of former 
social conditions of life and, therefore, as changeable. 

Two important tasks follow from this: 

i. The investigation and elucidation of the forms in which man’s incapacity for 
freedom expresses itself; 

ii. The investigation of the medical, pedagogic and social tools necessary to establish 
the capacity for freedom in a more and more thorough and more and more extensive way. 

At this point the ‘mistakes’ made by democratic governments will be recalled: pacts 
with plague-ridden dictators, the many acts of treachery committed against democratic 

allies (England-Spain; Russia-Czechoslovakia, etc.), the priority given to business 
interests over principles (Russian oil for Italy during the Ethiopian war; Mexican oil for 
Germany during the Spanish anti-fascist fight; Swedish steel for Nazi Germany; 
American steel, American coal, etc., for Japan; English behaviour in Burma and India; 
the religious-mystical faith of the socialists and Communists, etc.). But the gravity of 
these ‘mistakes’ diminishes when compared with the mistakes of masses of people, their 
social apathy, passivity, craving for authority, etc. The ineluctable fact remains: The 
working masses of men and women , they and they alone , are responsible for everything 
that takes place, the good things and the bad things. True enough, they suffer most from 
a war, but it is their apathy, craving for authority, etc., that is most responsible for making 
wars possible. It follows of necessity from this responsibility that the working masses of 
men and women, they and they alone, are capable of establishing lasting peace. The 
quintessence of this accomplishment can be nothing but the elimination of the incapacity 
for freedom. Only the masses of people themselves can accomplish this. To become 
capable of freedom and of securing peace, masses of people who are incapable of 
freedom will have to have social power. This is the contradiction and its solution. 

b. In the event that the outcome of this war will not bring the basic facts to the surface 
of social consciousness and that the old illusions continue to exist, it is to be assumed that 
our present position will not change much. If such is the case, we will not be able to 
escape the conclusion that the illusionary ‘pills’, the formal freedoms, the formal joys 
and forma/ democracies, will soon give birth to new dictators and a new war. In such a 
case we will continue to be ‘isolated’ and in opposition to this social misery; our task will 
be no less difficult. Within this general framework of illusions we will have to maintain a 
subjective and objective honesty. We will have to make every effort to keep our insights 
into the nature of man unadulterated, and at the same time to deepen them. It will not be 
easy for the workers in the field of orgone biophysics, structure psychology and sex- 
economy to elude the influences of illusions and to preserve their knowledge in a pure 
and crystal clear form for future generations. Their knowledge must be practically 
applicable if the insight into the psychic mass plague should still have to be asserted after 
the sixth, twelfth or twentieth world war. In this case we will not pass on to our 
descendants deeds of heroism, war decorations, ‘heroic remembrances’ and front-line 
experiences, but a modest, unobtrusive, unostentatious knowledge, pregnant with the 
seed of the future. This task can be accomplished even under the worst social conditions. 
When the time is ripe to overcome the emotional plague, we do not want that generation 
to make any unnecessary mistakes, and we do not want it to have to cast about for 
answers to the arguments of the plague. We want it to be able to fall back on old, though 
neglected, truths and to be able to shape its life more honestly and more decently than the 
generation 0/1940. 

At this point, some friend or other may well feel prompted to ask: ‘For Christ’s sake, 
why don’t you fight for social power to push through the important truths you have 
perceived? Isn’t it cowardly of you to sit there, politically passive, though you claim to be 
in possession of vital facts. Damn it, fight for positions as ministers of health, ministers of 
education, statesmen, etc.!’ 

We understand this argument. Many of us have set it forth again and again. There 
were many sleepless nights because of it. The dilemma is this: 

Without the power to put them into practice, truths are of no use. They remain 

Power, no matter what kind of power it is, without a foundation in truth, is a 
dictatorship, more or less and in one way or another, for it is always based on man’s fear 
of the social responsibility and personal burden that ‘freedom’ entails. 

Dictatorial power and truth do not go together. They are mutually exclusive. 

It is a historical fact that truth has always died when its protagonists have gained social 
power. 'Power’ always means the subjugation of others. However, truthful facts can 
never be put into practice by subjugation, but only by persuasion. We learned this from 
the French and Russian revolutions. Not a single one of their truths survived more than a 
few decades at the most. Jesus proclaimed a truth which was stupendous at his time. It 
died in the Christian world when he was replaced by the popes. Deep insights into human 
misery of two thousand years ago gave way to formulas; the simple cowl gave way to the 
gold-draped ornament; the rebellion against suppression of the poor gave way to 
consolidations of happiness beyond the grave. The truths of the great French Revolution 
died in the French Republic and ended in political power-mongering, in the ignorance of 
a Petain and the business dealings of a Laval. The truths of Marxian economy died in the 
Russian Revolution when the word’ society’ was replaced by the word ‘state’ and the 
idea of an ‘international mankind’ was replaced by nationalistic patriotism and the pact 
with Hitler. They died in Germany, Austria and Scandinavia, notwithstanding the fact 
that the heirs of the great European freedom-fighters had all the social power in their 
hands. Almost one hundred years after the birth of the truths of 1848, the muck, which 
goes back thousands of years, still prevails. Power and truth do not go together. This too 
is a bitter, unfortunate truth. 

It is true that those of us who have political experience could wrestle for power just as 
any other politician. But we have no time; we have more important things to do. And 
there is no doubt that the knowledge we hold to be sacred would be lost in the process. 
To acquire power, millions of people have to be fed illusions. This too is true: Lenin won 
over millions of Russian peasants, without whom the Russian Revolution would have 
been impossible, with a slogan which was at variance with the basic collective tendencies 
of the Russian party. The slogan was: ‘Take the land of the large landowners. It is to be 
your individual property. ’ And the peasants followed. They would not have offered their 
allegiance if they had been told in 1917 that this land would one day be collectivized. The 
truth of this is attested to by the bitter fight for the collectivization of Russian agriculture 
around 1930. In social life there are degrees of power and degrees of falsity. The more 
the masses of people adhere to truth, the less power-mongering there will be; the more 
imbued with irrational illusions the masses of people are, the more widespread and brutal 
individual power-mongering will be. 

It would be stupid to try to win over masses of people with the assertion that they 
themselves and not individual psychopaths are responsible for social misery, that they 
themselves and not one of their elected or acclaimed leaders bear the responsibility for 
their fate, that they alone are responsible for everything that happens in the world. This 
is’ completely at variance with what they have always been told and what they have 
imbibed. It would be stupid to try to acquire power with such truths. 

On the other hand, it is definitely conceivable that the world catastrophe will reach a 
stage at which the masses of people will be forced to get an insight into their social 
attitudes, be forced to change themselves and to assume the heavy burden of social 
responsibility. But in such a case, they themselves will acquire power and will rightfully 
reject groups who ‘conquer’ power ‘in the interest of the people’. Hence, there is no 
reason for us to fight for power. 

We can be assured that the masses of people will need us, will call upon us and will 
entrust us with important functions, if they should ever get in a position to transform 
themselves in a rational direction. We will be a part of these masses, not their leaders, not 
their elected representatives, not their ‘custodians’. Then, as was the case in Austria and 
Germany many years ago, masses of people will throng to our clinics, schools, lectures 
and demonstrations of scientific facts to get answers to basic questions of life. (They will 
not demand or expect us to tell them how to solve their life tasks.) But they will throng to 
us only if we shall have remained honest. Then, when masses of people will have to bear 
the responsibility for social existence themselves, they will inevitably run against their 
own weaknesses, against the heritage of a vicious past. In short, they will run against 
those facts in their structures, thoughts and feelings that we include under the term ‘in- 
capacity for freedom’ . And as a social institution, together with thousands of friends, we 
will expose the mechanism of the incapacity for freedom and all the obstructions to the 
development of freedom to help masses of people to achieve genuine freedom. 

For this we need no power. The confidence of men and women - of all ages, 
occupations, every colour of skin and every view of life — in our absolute integrity as 
physicians, researchers, teachers, social workers, biologists, physicists, writers, tech- 
nicians, etc., will be far more enduring than any power ever acquired by a politician. This 
confidence will be that much greater, the more our scientific and practical activity reflects 
reality. This confidence cannot be conquered; it comes about of itself when one adheres 
to one’s work honestly. In no case should we want to adapt our insights to the masses’ 
present way of thinking for the purpose’ of winning influence’. Widespread confidence in 
our activities can proceed only from the deepening of our general knowledge about the 
nature of the plague. 

When we are called upon, it will be a sign that self-administration in social life is 
indeed taking hold, that the will to ‘profound truth’, to fruitful self-criticism, is 
awakening in the working masses of men and women. Since our organisation is the only 
organization that sees through the irrationality of politics and the old ideologies, it cannot 
be any other way. Conversely, if we continue to remain in the ‘opposition’, it will be a 
sure sign that society is not ready to see through and eliminate the irrationality in its 
mechanism. In such a case, however, no power would be of any help to us, and we our- 
selves would only degenerate into irrationality. 

Don’t let this conscious renunciation of power causes anyone to underestimate our 
work. We do not play the role of ‘humble’, ‘unassuming’ scientists. Our work is 
accomplished at the source of life, in line with fundamental natural science. False 
modesty here would be tantamount to self-destruction. It is true that, beside ‘Dneprostroi 
Dam’, ‘orgastic potency’ sounds small; ‘character armouring’, insignificant, compared 
with ‘blackout’; ‘orgone’, academic beside ‘Bataan and Tobruk’. It seems this way from 
a contemporary point of view. But compared with Kepler’s laws, what remains of 

Alexander the Great? What remains of Caesar compared with the laws of mechanics? 
What of Napoleon’s campaigns compared with the discovery of micro-organisms or 
unconscious psychic life? And what will remain of the psychopathic generals compared 
with cosmic orgone? Renunciation of power does not mean renunciation of rational 
regulation of human existence. It is the effect that is different: long-sighted, deep and 
revolutionary, true and life-securing. It does not matter whether we feel the effects 
tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. It will be up to working masses of men and women 
to pick the fruits of new knowledge today and not the day after tomorrow. The 
responsibility they bear for their life and activity is no less than the responsibility the 
individual shoemaker bears for the shoe, the physician for the patient, the researcher for 
his statements, the architect for his constructions. We do not strive to be people’s 
benefactors or commiserators. We take people seriously! When they need us, they will 
call us. Then we shall be there. For my part, I reject the struggle for power with the intent 
of obtruding my knowledge. 


We are confronted with the incontrovertible fact: At no time in the history of human 
society did masses of people succeed in preserving, organising and developing the 
freedom and peace that they had achieved in bloody battles. We mean the genuine 
freedom of personal and social development, the freedom to face life without fear, 
freedom from all forms of economic suppression, freedom from reactionary inhibitions of 
development; in short, the free self-administration of life. We have to rid ourselves of all 
illusions. In the masses of people themselves there is a retarding power which is both 
reactionary and murderous and which thwarts the efforts of the freedom-fighters again 
and again. 

This reactionary power in masses of people appears as a general fear of responsibility 
and fear of freedom. These are not moralistic evaluations. This fear is deeply rooted in 
the biologic constitution of present-day man. However, this constitution is not, as the 
typical fascist believes, native to man; it has become that way in the course of history and 
is therefore changeable, fundamentally speaking. It is not easy to give a brief and lucid 
exposition of the social role of the fear of freedom. Perhaps it would be best to begin with 
a -report by James Aldridge, which appeared in the New York Times of 24 June 1942, 
under the title, ‘British in Africa Lack IKiller Urge’. I quote: 

The German Afrika Corps defeated the Eighth Army because it lhad speed, anger, 
virility and toughness. As soldiers in the traditional sense, the Germans are punk, 
absolutely punk. But Marshal? Erwin Rommel and his gang are angry men, they are 
tough to the point of stupidity. They are virile and fast, they are thugs with little or no 
imagination. They are practical men, taken from a most practical and hard life to fight 
practically: Nazis trained to kill. The German commanders are scientists, who are 
continually experimenting with and improving the hard, mathematical formula of killing. 
They are trained as mathematicians, engineers and chemists facing complicated 
problems. There is no art in it, there is no imagination. War is pure physics to them. The 
German soldier is trained with a psychology of the daredevil track rider. He is a 
professional killer, with no distractions. He believes he is the toughest man on earth. 

Actually, he cracks very easily and is not so tough, and can be beaten soundly and 
quickly by a foe using the same ruthless speedy methods he uses . . . The British soldier 
is the most heroic on earth, but do not confuse that with military toughness. He has the 
toughness of determination but he has not the toughness which makes him scientifically 
kill his enemy. 

This is the best description of mechanical militarism that I have ever read. It discloses 
at one blow the complete identity of mechanistic natural science, mechanical human 
structure and sadistic murder. This identity found its highest and most consummate 
expression in the totalitarian dictatorship-ideology of German imperialism. This 
mechanical trinity is set in relief against that view of life that regards man not as a 
machine, the machine not as the master of man and militarism not as his greatest asset. 
This living functional view has found its last refuge in the Western democracies. It 
remains to be seen whether it will survive the chaos. 

As strange as it may sound to the ears of a general, I maintain that the defeats of the 
democracies, as tragic and dangerous as they were, were imbued with a deep humanity, 
which is diametrically opposed to mechanical automatism: the appreciation of human 
life. Aldridge is wrong in reproaching the democratic commanders-in-chief for 
attempting to spare human life, instead of imitating the human robots. He is wrong in 
demanding that the anti-fascist fighters learn to kill even more mechanically, more 
automatically, more scientifically, than the Prussian automatons. Those who attempt to 
beat the mechanical automatons with their own methods will only jump out of the frying 
pan and into the fire, i.e., in their efforts to become more efficient scientific killers, they 
will transform themselves into mechanical automatons and perpetuate the process their 
opponents have set in motion. In such a case the last vestiges of all living hope for a 
different kind of human society, a permanently peaceful one will vanish altogether. 

Our conception of the anti-fascist fight is different. It is a clear, relentless recognition 
of the historical and biological causes that lead to such murders. The deracination of the 
fascist plague will come about solely from such recognition, and not by imitating it. One 
cannot vanquish fascism by imitating - and subduing it with its own methods, without 
becoming a fascist oneself. The way of fascism is the way of the automaton, death, 
rigidity, hopelessness. The way of the living is fundamentally different; it is more 
difficult, more dangerous, more honest, more hopeful. 

Let us strip the matter of all current political interest and concentrate on the one 
question: How does such a complete functional identity of machine, man and scientific 
murder come about? This question may not bear any relevance to such questions as 
whether ship-building is keeping pace with ship-sinking or whether the mechanical 
monstrosity will reach the oil wells of Baku or not. We do not fail to appreciate the 
importance of these current questions. If my house should suddenly catch fire, naturally I 
would first try to extinguish the fire and to save what could still be saved of important 
manuscripts, books and apparatus. But sooner or later I shall have to build a new house, 
and I shall give considerable thought to what it was that caused the fire in the old house, 
so that I can prevent a repetition of the misfortune. 

MAN IS FUNDAMENTALLY AN ANIMAL. In contrast to man, animals are not 
mechanical or sadistic, and their societies (within the same species) are incomparably 

more peaceful than man’s societies. The basic question runs: What caused the human 
animal to deteriorate and become robot like? 

When I use the word ‘animal’, I do not mean something vicious, terrible or ‘inferior’, 
but a biologic fact. However, man developed the peculiar idea that he was not an animal; 
he was a ‘man’, and he had long since divested himself of the ‘vicious’ and the ‘brutal’. 
Man takes great pains to disassociate himself from the vicious animal and to prove that 
he ‘is better’ by pointing to his culture and his civilisation, which distinguish him from 
the animal. His entire attitude, his ‘theories of value’, moral philosophies, his ‘monkey 
trials’,, all bear witness to the fact that he does not want to be reminded that he is 
fundamentally an animal, that he has incomparably more in common with ‘the animal’ 
than he has with that which he thinks and dreams himself to be. The theory of the 
German superman has its origin in man’s effort to disassociate himself from the animal. 
His viciousness, his inability to live peacefully with his own kind, his wars, bear witness 
to the fact that man is distinguished from the other animals only by a boundless sadism 
and the mechanical trinity of an authoritarian view of life, mechanistic science and the 
machine. If one looks back over long stretches of the results of human civilization, one 
finds that man’s claims are not only false, but are peculiarly contrived to make him forget 
that he is an animal. Where and how did man get these illusions about himself? 

Man’s life is dichotomized: One part of his life is determined by biologic laws (sexual 
gratification, consumption of food, relatedness to nature); the other part of his life is 
determined by the machine civilization (mechanical ideas about his own organization, his 
superior position in the animal kingdom, his racial or class attitude towards other human 
groups, valuations about ownership and non-ownership, science, religion, etc.). His being 
an animal and his not being animal, biologic roots on the one hand and technical 
development on the other hand, cleave man’s life and thought. All the notions man has 
developed about himself are consistently derived from the machine that he has created. 
The construction of machines and the use of machines have imbued man with the belief 
that he is progressing and developing himself to something ‘higher’, in and through the 
machine. But he also invested the machine with an animal-like appearance and 
mechanics. The train engine has eyes to see with and legs to run with, a mouth to 
consume coal with and discharge openings for slag, levers and other devices for making 
sounds. In this way the product of mechanistic technology became the extension of man 
himself. In fact, machines do constitute a tremendous extension of man’s biologic 
organization. They make him capable of mastering nature to a far greater degree than his 
hands alone had enabled him. They give him mastery over time and space. Thus, the 
machine became a part of man himself, a loved and highly esteemed part. He dreams 
about how these machines make his life easier and will give him a great capacity for 
enjoyment. The enjoyment of life with the help of the machine has always been his 
dream. And in reality? The machine became, is, and will continue to be his most 
dangerous destroyer, if he does not differentiate himself from it, 

The advance of civilization which was determined by the development of the machine 
went hand in hand with a catastrophic misinterpretation of the human biologic 
organisation. In the construction of the machine, man followed the laws of mechanics 
and lifeless energy. This technology was already highly developed long before man 
began to ask how he himself was constructed and organized. When, finally, he dared very 
gradually, cautiously and very often under the mortal threat of his fellow man to discover 

his own organs, he interpreted their functions in the way he had learned to construct 
machines many centuries before. He interpreted them in a mechanistic, lifeless and rigid 
way. The mechanistic view of life is a copy of mechanistic civilisation. But living 
functioning is fundamentally different; it is not mechanistic. The specific biologic energy, 
orgone, obeys laws which are neither mechanical nor electrical. 

Trapped in a mechanistic picture of the world, man was incapable of grasping the 
specifically living, non-mechanistic functioning. Man dreams about one day producing a 
homun-culus a la Frankenstein or at least an artificial heart or artificial protein. The 
notions of homunculus, which man has developed in his fantasy, project a picture of a 
brutal monster, manlike, but mechanically stupid, angular, and possessing powerful 
forces, which, if they are set loose, will be beyond control and will automatically cause 
havoc. In his film fantasia Walt Disney brilliantly captured this fact. In such fantasies of 
himself and his organization, we miss every expression of that which is vitally alive, 
kind, social and related to nature. On the other hand, it is striking that man invests the 
animals he portrays precisely with those traits he misses in himself and does not give to 
his homunculus figures. This, too, is excellently brought out in Disney’s animal films. 

In his fantasies, man appears as a mechanical, vicious, overbearing, heartless, 
inanimate monster, while the animal appears as a social, kind and fully alive creature, 
invested with all the human strengths and weaknesses. We have to ask: Does man reflect 
a reality in these fantasies? The answer is: Yes. He very vividly portrays his inner 
biologic contradiction: 

1. In ideology: vicious animal - majestic man; 

2. In reality: kind, free animal - brutal robot. 

Thus, the machine has had a mechanical, mechanistic, ‘dulling’, and ‘rigidifying’ 
effect on man’s conception of his own organisation. This is how man conceives of 
himself: The brain is the ‘most consummate product of development’. His brain is a 
‘control centre’, which gives the individual organs commands and impulses just as the’ 
ruler’ of a state orders his’ subjects’ about. The organs of the body are connected with the 
master, the ‘brain’, by telegraph wires, the nerves. (A complete misconception naturally, 
for the organs of the organism had an expedient biologic function long before there was a 
brain in billions of organisms. And as physiology has experimentally proven, the 
essential functions of life continue for some time in a dog or chicken from which the 
brain has been removed.) 

Infants have to drink a precise quantity of milk at fixed intervals and have to sleep a 
precise number of hours. Their diet has to have exactly x ounces of fat, j ounces of 
protein and % ounces of carbohydrates. Until the day of marriage, a man does not have a 
sex drive; it begins to operate precisely on this day. God created the world in exactly six 
days and rested on the seventh, as man rests from his machines. Children have to study x 
hours of mathematics, y hours of chemistry, z hours of zoology, all exactly the same, and 
all of them have to acquire the same amount of wisdom. Superior intelligence is equal to 
one hundred points, average intelligence to eighty points, stupidity to forty points. With 
ninety points one gets a Ph.D., with eighty-nine, one does not. 

Even in our own time, psychic life itself is only something nebulous and mysterious to 
man, or at best a secretion of the brain, which, as it were, is neatly stored away in 

individual compartments. It has no greater significance than the excreta that are 
discharged from the bowels. For centuries man has not only denied the existence of a 
soul; what is worse is that he repudiated every attempt to comprehend sensations and 
psychic experiences. At the same time, however, he devised mystical conceptions which 
embodied his emotional life. Those who questioned his mystical conceptions of life were 
persecuted and punished with death, whether it was the ‘saints’, ‘racial purity’, or the 
‘state’ that was questioned. In this way man developed mechanistic, mechanical and 
mystical conceptions of his organizations at one and the same time. Thus, his 
understanding of biology remained far behind his dexterity in constructing machines, and 
he abandoned the possibility of comprehending himself. The machine he had created 
sufficed to explain the performances of his organism. 

Is this gap between outstanding industrial dexterity and biologic understanding only 
the result of a lack of knowledge? Or can we assume that there is an unconscious 
intention, an, as it were, unconscious arbitrary banishment of the insight into one’s own 
organization? (In the experimental studies of the orgone, I never cease to marvel that 
atmospheric orgone was so completely overlooked by tens of thousands of outstanding 

The irrefutable answer is: The lagging behind of our understanding of the living, its 
mechanistic misinterpretation and the overestimation of the machine were and are 
unconscious intentions. There is no reason whatever why man could not have constructed 
machines mechanistically and at the same time comprehended the living, non-mechanical 
in a living way. A thorough consideration of human behaviour in important life situations 
betrays the nature of this intention. 

For man the machine civilization constituted not only an improvement of his animal 
existence; over and above this it had the subjectively far more important, but irrational , 
function of constantly stressing that he was not an animal, that he was fundamentally 
different from the animal. The next question is this: What interest does man have in 
constantly crying out, whether in his science, his religion, his art or his other expressions 
of life, that he is indeed a man and not an animal; that the highest task of human 
existence is the ‘slaying of his animal side’ and the cultivation of ‘values’; that the child 
has to be transformed from a ‘little wild animal’ into a ‘higher man’? How is it possible, 
we have to ask, that man should want to cut himself off from the biologic branch on 
which he grew and of which he is inveterately a part? How is it possible, we must ask 
further, that he does not see the damages (psychic illnesses, biopathies, sadism and wars) 
to his health, culture and mind that are caused by this biologic renunciation? Is it possible 
for human intelligence to admit that human misery can be done away with only if man 
fully acknowledges his animal nature? Doesn’t man have to learn that that which 
distinguishes him from the other animals is merely an improvement of the security factor 
of life, and that he has to give up the irrational renunciation of his true nature? 

‘Away from the animal; away from sexuality!’ are the guiding principles of the 
formation of all human ideology. This is the case whether it is disguised in the fascist 
form of racially pure ‘supermen’, the communist form of proletarian class honour, the 
Christian form of man’s ‘spiritual and ethical nature’, or the liberal form of ‘higher 
human values’. All these ideas harp on the same monotonous tune: ‘We are not animals; 
it was we who discovered the machine - not the animal! And we don’t have genitals like 

the animals!’ All of this adds up to an overemphasis of the intellect, of the ‘purely’ 
mechanistic; logic and reason as opposed to instinct; culture as opposed to nature; the 
mind as opposed to the body; work as opposed to sexuality; the state as opposed to the 
individual; the superior man as opposed to the inferior man. 

How is it to be explained that of the millions of car drivers, radio listeners, etc., only 
very few know the name of the inventor of the car and the radio, whereas every child 
knows the name of the generals of the political plague? 

Natural science is constantly drilling into man’s consciousness that fundamentally he 
is a worm in the universe. The political plague-monger is constantly harping upon the 
fact that man is not an animal, but a ‘zoon politikon’, i.e., a non-animal, an upholder of 
values, a ‘moral being’. How much mischief has been perpetuated by the Platonic 
philosophy of the state! It is quite clear why man knows the politicos better than the 
natural scientists: He does not want to be reminded of the fact that he is fundamentally a 
sexual animal. He does not want to be an animal 

Viewed in this way, the animal has no intelligence, but only ‘wicked instincts’; no 
culture, but only ‘base drives’; no sense of values, but only ‘material needs’. It is 
precisely the human type who sees the whole of life in the making of money who likes to 
stress these ‘differences’. If a war as murderous as the present one has any trace of a 
rational function, then it is the function of exposing the abysmal irrationality and 
mendacity of such ideas. Man would have good reason to be happy if he were as free 
from sadism, perversions and meanness, and as filled with a natural spontaneity, as any 
one of the animals, whether an ant or an elephant. As vain as man’s assumption was that 
the earth is the centre of the universe or the sole inhabited planet, even so unreal and 
pernicious was his philosophy that represented the animal as a ‘soulless’ creature devoid 
of any morals, indeed, as morally repulsive. If, while professing myself to be a 
benevolent saint, I should take an axe and crack my neighbour’s skull, there would be 
good reason for putting me in a mental institution or in the electric chair. But this 
juxtaposition exactly reflects the contradiction in man between his ideal ‘values’ on the 
one hand and his actual behaviour on the other hand. His expressing of this contradiction 
in high-sounding sociological formulas such as ‘the century of wars and revolutions’, or’ 
elevating experiences at the front’, or ‘the highest development of military strategy and 
political tactics’, does not in the least alter the fact that it is precisely with respect to his 
biological and social organization that man gropes in the dark and is so hopelessly 
confused. It is clear that this frame of mind did not evolve naturally; it is the result of the 
development of the machine civilization. It is easy to prove that, when the patriarchal 
organization of society began to replace the matriarchal organization, suppression and 
repression of genital sexuality in children and adolescents were the principal mechanisms 
used to adapt the human structure of the authoritarian order. The suppression of nature, of 
‘the animal’ in the child, was and has remained the principal tool in the production of 
mechanical subjects . 55 Society’s socio-economic development has continued its 
mechanical course until today in an independent way. The basis of all ideologic and 
cultural formations developed and branched out hand in hand with the socio-economic 
development: ‘Away from genitality’ and ‘away from the animal’. 

Man’s effort to disassociate himself from his biological origin became more and more 
pronounced and comprehensive in the course of these two processes, the social and the 

psychological. Sadistic brutality in business and war, mechanicalness in his nature, 
ambiguity in his facial expression, armouring against feelings, perverse and criminal 
tendencies, all of these became more and more pronounced and comprehensive. 

It hasn’t been too long since we began to take cognizance of the devastating effects of 
this devious biological development. One is easily tempted to look upon the state of 
affairs too optimistically. One could argue as follows: There can be no doubt that man 
went astray when he interpreted his own nature in terms of the machine civilization. Now 
that we recognize this error, it will be easy to correct it. Civilization has to be mechanical, 
but man’s mechanistic attitude towards life can easily be converted into an attitude based 
on functional living processes. An astute minister of education could issue appropriate 
edicts for the purpose of reshaping education. The error would be corrected in one or two 
generations. That’s the way some clever men spoke at the time of the Russian Revolu- 
tion, 1917-23. 

This argument would indeed be correct if the mechanical view of life were merely an 
‘idea’ or ‘attitude’. However, the character analysis of the average man in all social 
situations brought a fact to light which we cannot afford to underestimate. It turned out 
that the mechanical view of life was not merely a ‘reflection’ of the social processes in 
man’s psychic life, as Marx had assumed, but much more than that: Over the course of 
thousands of years of mechanical development , the mechanistic view of life has become 
more and more ingrained in man’s biological system, continuously from generation to 
generation. In the process of this developmen t, man’ s functioning was actually changed 
in a mechanical way. Man became plasmatically rigid in the process of killing his genital 
function. He armoured himself against the natural and spontaneous in himself and lost 
contact with the function of biological self-regulation. Now he is filled with mortal fear 
of the living and the free. 

This biologic rigidity is essentially manifested in a general stiffening of the organism 
and in a demonstrable reduction of plasmatic mobility: Intelligence is impaired; the 
natural social sense is blocked; psychosis is rampant. I gave a thorough exposition of the 
facts that support this assertion in The Function of the Orgasm. So-called civilized man 
actually did become angular and mechanical, and he lost his spontaneity, i.e., he 
developed into an automaton and ‘brain machine’. Thus, he not only believes that he 
functions as a machine, but he actually does function automatically, mechanistically and 
mechanically. He lives, loves, hates and thinks more and more mechanically. With his 
biological stiffening and the loss of his native function of self-regulation, he acquired all 
the characterological attitudes, which culminated in the outbreak of the dictatorship 
plague: a hierarchical view of the state, a mechanical administration of society, fear of 
responsibility, an intense longing for a fuhrer and craving for authority, insistence upon 
commands, mechanistic thinking in natural science, mechanical killing in war. It is no 
coincidence that the Platonic idea of the state was born in the Greek slave society. Nor is 
it a coincidence that it has continued to exist into the present day: serfdom was replaced 
by inner slavery. 

The question of the fascist plague has led us deeply into man’s biologic organization. 
It relates to a development that goes back thousands of years, and not, as those who view 
society in purely economic terms believed, to the imperialistic interests of the past two 
hundred years or even past twenty years. On no account, therefore, can the present war be 

confined to the imperialistic interests in the oil wells of Baku or the rubber plantations in 
the Pacific. The Treaty of Versailles plays the same role in the Second World War as the 
wheel of a machine in the transmission of the energy of coal to the steam piston. The 
purely economic view of life, as much as it may have been of service, is totally unsuited 
to cope with the convulsive processes of our Me. 

The biblical legend of the creation of man as an image of God, of his dominion over 
the animals, clearly reflects the repressive action man carried out against his animal 
nature. But he is reminded of his true nature every day by his body functions, procreation, 
birth and death, sexual urge and dependency upon nature. His efforts to fulfil his ‘divine’ 
or ‘national’ ‘calling’ become more, and more strenuous; the deeply rooted hatred of all 
genuine natural sciences, i.e., sciences that are not concerned with the construction of 
machines, stems from this source. It took several thousand years before a Darwin 
succeeded in unmistakably proving man’s animal descendancy. It took just as long until a 
Freud discovered the fact, banal as it is that the child is altogether, and above all, sexual. 
And what a fuss the animal, man, made when he heard such things! 

There is a direct connection between the ‘dominion’ over animals and racial 
‘dominion’ over the ‘black man, the Jew, the Frenchman, etc.’ It is clear that one prefers 
to be a gentleman than an animal. 

To disassociate himself from the animal kingdom, the human animal denied and 
finally ceased to perceive the sensations of his organs; in the process he became 
biologically rigid. It is still a dogma of mechanistic natural science that the autonomous 
functions are not experienced and that the autonomous nerves of life are rigid. This is the 
case, notwithstanding the fact that every three-year-old child knows very well that 
pleasure, fear, anger, yearning, etc., take place in the belly. This is the case, 
notwithstanding the fact that the experience of oneself is nothing but the total experience 
of one’s organs. By losing the sensation of his organs, man lost not only the intelligence 
of the animal and the ability to react naturally, but he ruined his own chances of 
overcoming his life problems. He replaced the natural self-regulatory intelligence of the 
body plasma by a goblin in the brain, which he invested with both metaphysical and 
mechanical characteristics in a way that was metaphysical in every respect. Man’s body 
sensations did indeed become rigid and mechanical. 

In his education, science and philosophy of life, man is constantly reproducing the 
mechanical organism. Under the slogan: ‘Away from the animal’ this biologic deformity 
celebrates the most amazing triumphs in the fight of the ‘superman against the lower- 
man’ (is equal to abdominal man) and in scientific, mathematical and mechanical killing. 
But more than mechanistic philosophies and machines are needed to kill. This is where 
sadism comes in, this secondary drive which is the offspring of suppressed nature and is 
the only important trait differentiating man’s structure from that of the animal. 

However, this tragic mechanical-mechanistic development, distorted as it is, did not 
eradicate its opposite. At the bottom of his nature, man still remains an animal creature. 
No matter how immobile his pelvis and back may be; no matter how rigid his neck and 
shoulders may be; or how tense his abdominal muscles may be; or how high he may hold 
his chest in pride and fear - at the innermost core of his sensations he feels that he is only 
a piece of living organized nature. But as he denies and suppresses every aspect of this 
nature, he cannot embrace it in a rational and living way. Hence, he has to experience it 

in a mystical, other-worldly and supernatural way, whether in the form of religious 
ecstasy, cosmic unification with the world soul, sadistic thirst for blood or’ cosmic 
seething of the blood’. It is known that such an impotent monster senses his strongest 
urges to kill in the spring. The Prussian military parades betray all the characteristics of a 
mystical and mechanical man. 

Human mysticism, which thus represents the last traces of vitality, also became the 
fountainhead of mechanical sadism in Hitlerism. From the deepest sources of biologic 
functioning still remaining, the cry for ‘freedom’ wins through again and again, 
notwithstanding all the rigidity and enslavement. There is not a single social movement 
that could advocate the ‘suppression of life’ as part of its programme and hope to win 
over masses of people. Every single one of the many different social movements that 
suppress the self-regulation of life energy, advocates ‘freedom’ in one form or another: 
freedom from sin; redemption from the ‘earthly’; the freedom of lebensraum; the 
freedom of the nation; the freedom of the proletariat; the freedom of culture; etc., etc. The 
various cries for freedom are as old as the ossification of the human plasma. 

The cry for freedom is a sign of suppression. It will never cease as long as man feels 
himself to be trapped. No matter how different the cries for freedom may be, at bottom 
they always express one and the same thing: the intolerableness of the organism’s 
rigidity and the mechanical institutions of life, which are sharply at variance with the 
natural sensations of life. If there should ever be a society in which all the cries for 
freedom fade away, then man will have finally overcome his biological and social 
deformity and have achieved genuine freedom. Not until man acknowledges that he is 
fundamentally an animal, will he be able to create a genuine culture. 

Man’s ‘upward strivings’ are nothing but the biologic development of vital powers. 
Such strivings are conceivable only within the framework of the laws of biologic 
development and not in opposition to them. The will to freedom and the capacity for 
freedom are nothing but the will and the capacity to recognize and promote the unfolding 
of man’s biologic energy (with the aid of the machine). It is out of the question to talk 
about freedom if man’s biologic development is choked and feared. 

Under the influence of politicians, masses of people tend to ascribe the responsibility 
for wars to those who wield power at any given time. In the First World War it was the 
munitions industrialists; in the Second World War it was the psychopathic generals who 
were said to be guilty. This is passing the buck. The responsibility for wars falls solely 
upon the shoulders of these same masses of people, for they have all the necessary means 
to avert war in their own hands. In part by their apathy, in part by their passivity and in 
part actively, these same masses of people make possible the catastrophes under which 
they themselves suffer more than anyone else. To stress this guilt on the part of masses of 
people, to hold them solely responsible, means to take them seriously. On the other hand, 
to commiserate masses of people as victims means to treat them as small, helpless 
children. The former is the attitude held by the genuine freedom-fighters; the latter the 
attitude held by the power-thirsty politicians. 


Kings and emperors always inspect their troops. Money magnates keep a sharp eye on 
the sums of money that give them power. All fascist dictators measure the degree of 
irrationality in human reactions, for it is this irrationality that makes it possible for them 
to win and maintain their power over masses of people. The natural scientist measures the 
degree of knowledge and the methods of research. But thus far no freedom organi2ation 
has taken stock of the biologic arsenal in which the weapons necessary to establish and 
maintain human freedom are to be found. Despite the exactness of our social machinery, 
there is still no natural scientific definition of the word freedom. No other word is so 
abused and so misunderstood as this one is. To define freedom is to define sexual health. 
But no one wants to state it openly. One often has the impression that the advocacy of 
personal and social freedom is associated with fear and guilt feelings. As if to be free 
were a forbidden sin, or at least not quite decent. Sex-economy comprehends this guilt 
feeling: Freedom without sexual self-regulation is a contradiction in itself. According to 
the prevailing human structure, however, to be sexual means to be’ sinful’ or guilty. 
There are only a few people who experience love without feelings of guilt. ‘Free love’ 
became a defamatory word and lost the meaning given to it by the old freedom-fighters. 
In films, to be a criminal and to have a strong sexuality are represented as the same thing. 
It is not surprising, therefore, that the ascetic and the reactionary man are more highly 
esteemed than the amorous peoples of the South Seas; that a high social position is 
incompatible with natural behaviour in sex; that, officially, ‘authority’ is not supposed to 
have a ‘private life’; that a great researcher such as De La Mettrie could be defiled and 
persecuted; that any perverse moralist can insult a happy couple with impunity; that 
adolescents can be imprisoned for having sexual intercourse, etc. 

In this chapter we set out to show the miscalculation that all freedom-fighters until 
now have made: The social incapacity for freedom is sexual-physiologically anchored in 
the human organism. It follows from this that the overcoming of the physiologic 
incapacity for freedom is one of the most important basic preconditions of every genuine 
fight for freedom. It cannot be the aim of this chapter to give an exposition of those 
elements of freedom that are generally known and advocated, i.e., freedom of expression, 
freedom from economic suppression and exploitation, freedom of assembly and coalition, 
freedom of scientific research, etc. For us it is essential to focus upon and elucidate the 
most powerful obstacles to all these efforts. 

We understand why the general characterological incapacity for freedom on the part of 
masses of people has never been a subject of public debate. This fact is too dark, too 
depressing and too unpopular to be discussed openly. It demands that the overwhelming 
majority subject themselves to a self-criticism, which is sure to prove embarrassing, and 
to undertake an enormous reorientation in their total approach to life. It demands that the 
responsibility for all social events be shifted from minorities and islands of society to the 
overwhelming majority, on whose work society is dependent. This working majority has 
never managed the affairs of society. The best that they were able to attain so far was the 
entrusting of the leadership of their lives to decent and not mean individuals. The 
‘parliamentary’ form of ‘government’ could not stand up to the pressure of facts, for 
other social groups and majorities invested brutal sadists and imperialists with power 
over their fates. The danger is too great that a formal democratic social organization will 
deteriorate into a dictatorial organization when it is forced to defend itself against the 
authoritarian dictator of its life. Since the working masses of people themselves do not 

determine their life in & factual and practical-way, the germ of oppression is already 
present in the course of the chance makeup of the government. This seems to be a 
generally known fact. It is heard more and more clearly from all sides that one can no 
longer count on a return of the old and that a fundamentally new world order has to be 
put together. This is absolutely correct, but concrete words are missing. What is missing 
is the hardening of the working majority of the population, which until now has assumed 
only a passive social role, with the full responsibility for their future fate. It is as if there 
were a widespread secret fear of shifting the responsibility from the shoulders of a 
democratic and well-meaning government to the shoulders of those who had until now 
been only electors, but not responsible supporters of society. This fear does not relate to 
evil-mindedness or a wicked orientation, but to the knowledge of the given biopsychic 
structure of masses of people. The Russian Revolution, which began in the direction of 
mass responsibility, fell to pieces and ended in a dictatorship precisely for this reason. 
Nonetheless, social revolution by means of transforming formal democracy to a 
complete, factual democracy is the most essential conclusion to be drawn from this war 
and everything that led to it. I want to repeat the inevitable conclusion to be drawn from 
the above facts: 

1 . Masses of people are incapable of freedom. 

2. A general capacity for freedom can be acquired only in the daily struggle for the 
free formation of life. 

3. Hence: Masses of people who are incapable of freedom at present have to have the 
social power to become capable of being free and of establishing freedom. 

I should like to illustrate the present practical task with an example from plant life. For 
some time I have been observing the effect of weeds on the growth of fir seedlings. 
Those seedlings that are not surrounded by many weeds grow fully on all sides; hardly 
above the ground, has the stem shot forth far-reaching branches. The needles are full and 
sappy. The plant strives upwards towards the sun free of any hindrances; it is ‘healthy’; 
its development is ‘free’. But if the fir seed has chanced to fall on a spot where there are a 
lot of weeds, then it develops, hemmed in by weeds, a needle less, crooked stem. It does 
not develop full branches; the needles are shrivelled, others don’t develop at all. Many 
such seedlings are not capable of pushing their way up through the weeds. The influence 
of the weeds is directly manifested in the deformity of the plant. It has to fight a hard 
battle to get to the sun, and it is distorted in the process. If such a seedling is freed of its 
weeds, it grows better, develops more fully; but the early influence of the weeds cannot 
be eradicated. The growth of the fir is stunted, its stem will be crooked and its needles 
will not be full and sappy. Yet every new seed that falls on a patch of earth free of weeds 
develops freely and fully from the start. 

I think that we can definitely compare the free development of a society to the fir 
seedling that is free of weeds; the dictatorship society to the stem hedged in by weeds; 
and that formal democracy which is at the mercy of pressure groups can be compared to 
the stem that, though it fights its way through, is biologically distorted in the process of 
its growth. At the present time there is no democratic society that can develop according 
to natural, free, self-regulatory laws, i.e., free of the deforming influence of dictatorial- 
authoritarian conditions within or outside of the society. The experience of fascism has 
put at our disposal numerous means of recognizing inchoative Hitlerism within or outside 

of its own borders. Biopsychically viewed, Hitlerism is nothing other than the 
consummate form of mechanical mechanism plus mystical irrationalism in masses of 
people. The crippling of individual and social life is nothing other than the accumulated 
secular influence of all authoritarian and irrational institutions on present-day man. 
Fascism did not create these conditions anew; it merely exploited and perfected the old 
conditions which were used to suppress freedom. The generation that bears the remnants 
of an age-old authoritarian order in its nature can only hope to be able to breathe more 
freely. Even after the weeds have been uprooted, i.e., after the fascist machine has been 
smashed, it will not be able to live and grow according to the natural laws of a fir tree. 

In other words: The biologic rigidity of the present generation can no longer be 
eliminated, but the living forces that are still operative in it can attain space to develop in 
a better way. However, new human beings are born every day, and in the course of thirty 
years the human race will have been biologically renewed; it will come into the world 
without any trace of fascist distortion. It is a question of the conditions under which and 
in which this new generation will be born; will they be conditions safeguarding freedom 
or will they be authoritarian? From this, the task of social hygiene and social legislation is 
clear and emphatic: 

Every effort must be made and all means employed to guard future generations 
against the influence of the biologic rigidity of the old generation. 

German fascism was born of the biologic rigidity and deformity of the preceding 
German generation. With its mechanical discipline, its goose-stepping and its ‘stomach 
in, chest out’, Prussian militarism was an extreme expression of this rigidity. German 
fascism was able to rely on the biologic rigidity and deformity of masses of people in 
other countries. This accounts for its international success. In the course of a single 
generation it succeeded in uprooting the last vestiges of the biologic will to freedom in 
the German society and in remoulding the new generation into rigid, robot like, war- 
machine automatons in a little more than a decade. Hence, this much is clear: Social 
freedom and self-regulation are inconceivable with biologically rigid, mechani2ed human 
beings. The principal weapon in the arsenal of freedom is each new generation’ s- 
tremendous urge to be free. The possibility of social freedom rests essentially upon this 
weapon and not upon anything else. 

Let us assume that the formal democracies will be victorious in this war. Let us further 
assume that in the struggle for freedom they will overlook or refuse to admit the social 
importance of the biologic miscalculation, i.e., the general biologic rigidity of masses of 
people. In such a case, each new generation will reproduce this rigidity of necessity. They 
will produce new life-fearing, authoritarian views of life in this or that form. Though 
bitterly fought for, the freedoms achieved under such conditions will be full of loopholes 
and gaps and their functioning will be biologically hampered. Masses of people will 
never be capable of developing full responsibility for social existence. Thus, those who 
have no interest in the self-regulation of society need only prevent each new generation 
from liberating itself from the pressure of the old generation’s rigidity, using any one of 
the power means of money, position or force. 

The task consists of social, medical and educational acts: Socially, it is a matter of 
seeking out all the sources of man’s biologic desolation and of enacting appropriate laws 
to safeguard free development. General formulations such as ‘freedom of the press, 

assembly and expression’, etc., are obvious, but they are not enough by a long shot. 

Under these laws the irrational man has the same rights as the free man. Since weeds 
always proliferate and grow more rapidly than a sturdy tree, the Hitlerite would have to 
win out in the long run. It will be a question of “realizing that ‘Hitlerism’ is not confined 
to those who bear the overt insignia of fascism, a question of seeking it out and fighting it 
in everyday life in a scientific and human way. Only in this process of weeding out 
fascism in everyday life will the appropriate laws against it be formulated as a matter of 

Let one example suffice: A person who wants to drive a car has to pass a driver’s test; 
this is a necessary requirement to guarantee the safety of others. A person who owns a 
bigger house than he can afford is forced to rent or buy a smaller house. A person who 
wants to open a shoe store must show proof of his ability to do so. But in this twentieth 
century of ours, there is no law to protect the newly born against the parents’ inability to 
bring them up and the parents’ neurotic influence. Scores of children can, indeed should , 
according to the fascist ideology, be put into the world; but no one asks whether they can 
be nourished properly and whether they can be educated in keeping with the highly 
extolled ideals. The sentimental slogan about the large family is typical of fascism, no 
matter who propagates it. 

With respect to medicine and education, the deplorable fact will have to be corrected 
that hundreds of thousands of physicians and teachers hold the weal and ill of every new 
generation in their hands, though they know nothing about the laws pertaining to the bio- 
sexual development of the small child. And this is still the case forty years after the 
discovery of childhood sexuality. Fascist mentality is hourly and daily, inculcated in 
millions upon millions of children and adolescents owing to the ignorance of educators 
and physicians. Two demands shoot into the foreground at this point. First: Every 
physician, educator and social worker etc., who is to deal with children and adolescents 
will have to prove that he himself or she herself is healthy from a sex-economic point of 
view and that he or she has acquired exact knowledge on human sexuality between the 
ages of one and about eighteen. In other words, the education of the educators in sex- 
economy must be made mandatory. The formation of sexual views must not be subject to 
the hazard, arbitrariness and influence of neurotic compulsive morality. Second: The 
child’s and adolescent’s natural love of life must be protected by clearly defined laws. 
These demands may sound radical and revolutionary. But every one will admit that the 
fascism that grew out of the frustration of childhood and adolescent sexuality has had a 
far more radical and revolutionary effect, in the negative sense of the words, than the 
social protection of nature ever could have in a positive respect. Every modern 
democratic society is full of individual attempts to effect a change in this area. But these 
islands of understanding perish in the swath of the plague spread by the biologically 
rigid, moralistic educators and physicians who stand above the society as a whole. 

There is not much sense in going into detail here. Each individual measure will result 
spontaneously, if only the basic principle of sexual affirmation and the social protection 
of childhood and adolescen t sexuality is adhered to. 

With respect to economy, only natural relationships of work, i.e., men’s natural 
economic dependencies upon one another are capable of creating the framework and 
basis for the biologic restructuralization of masses of people. 

We call the sum total of all natural work relationships, work-democracy; it is the form 
of the natural organization of work. In terms of their nature, these work relationships are 
functional and not mechanical. They cannot be arbitrarily organized; they ensue 
spontaneously from the work process itself. The reciprocal dependency between a 
carpenter and a blacksmith, a natural scientist and a glass grinder, a painter and a paint 
manufacturer, an electrician and a metal worker, is determined by the interrelationships 
of the work functions. One cannot conceive of an arbitrary law that could change these 
natural work relationships. The man who works with a microscope cannot be made 
independent of the glass grinder. The nature of lenses is solely dictated by the laws of 
light and technology, just as the form of induction spools is dictated by the laws of 
electricity and the activities of man are dictated by the nature of his needs. The natural 
functions of the work process are divorced from every kind of human-mechanistic and 
authoritarian arbitrariness. They function freely and ate free in the strict sense of the 
word. They alone are rational; hence they alone can determine social existence. Even the 
psychopathic generals are dependent upon them. Love, work and knowledge embrace 
everything that is implied in the concept work-democracy. 

Though it is true that the natural functions of work, love and knowledge can be abused 
and stifled, they regulate themselves by virtue of their nature. This has always been the 
case from the very beginning of human work, and they will continue to regulate 
themselves as long as there is a social process. They constitute th e factual basis (not the 
‘demand’) of work-democracy. The concept work-democracy is not a political 
programme; it is not an intellectual anticipation of an ‘economic plan’, nor is it a ‘New 
Order’. Work-democracy is a fact that has eluded human perception until now. Work- 
democracy cannot be organized any more than freedom can be organized. The growth of 
a tree, an animal or a man cannot be organized. By virtue of its biologic function, the 
growth of an organism is free in the strictest sense of the word. The same applies to the 
natural growth of a society. It is self -regulating and requires no legislation. To repeat, it 
can only be hindered or abused. 

The problem lies in the fact that it is the function of all forms of authoritarian rulership 
to binder the natural self-regulatory functions. Hence, the task of a genuinely free order 
must be to eliminate all hindrances to natural functions. Strict laws are needed to 
accomplish this. In this way, a democracy that has a serious and genuine intent is a direct 
manifestation of the natural self-regulation of love, work and knowledge. And 
dictatorship, in other words man’s irrationality, is a direct manifestation of the 
obstruction of this natural self-regulation. It clearly follows from this that the fight 
against dictatorship and the irrational craving for authority on the part of masses of 
people can consist only in one fundamental deed: 

Those forces in the individual and in the society that are natural and vital must be 
clearly separated from all the obstacles that operate against the spontaneous functioning 
of this natural vitality. 

The former have to be promoted, the latter have to be eliminated. 

The human regulation of social existence can never relate to the natural functions of 
work. Civilization in the positive sense of the word can have no other meaning than to 
create the best conditions for the unfolding of the natural functions of love, work and 
knowledge. Though freedom is not capable of being organized, since any organization is 

contrary to freedom, the conditions that are to clear the way to the free unfolding of the 
life forces can, indeed must, be organized. 

We do not tell those who work with us how or what they should think. We do not 
‘organize’ their thinking. But we demand that every worker in our field free himself or 
herself from the false ways of thinking and acting that he or she acquired through his or 
her upbringing. In this way, his or her ability to react spontaneously and in a rational way 
is set free. 

It is ridiculous to conceive of freedom to mean that a lie has the same right as a truth 
before a court of law. A genuine work-democracy will not accord mystical irrationality 
the same right as truth; nor will it allow the suppression of children the same scope as it 
allows their freedom. It is ridiculous to argue with a murderer about his right to murder. 
But this ridiculous mistake is made again and again in dealing with fascists. Fascism is 
not comprehended as state-organized irrationality and meanness; it is regarded as a ‘state 
form’ having equal rights. The reason for this is that everyone bears fascism in himself. 
Naturally, even fascism is right’ sometimes’. The same is true of the mental patient. The 
trouble is that he doesn’t know when he is right. 

Viewed in this way, freedom becomes a simple, easily comprehensible and easily 
manageable fact. Freedom does not have to be achieved - it is spontaneously present in 
every life function. It is the elimination of all obstacles to freedom that has to be 

Viewed in this way, the arsenal of human freedom is enormous and has an abundance 
of means at its disposal, both biological and mechanical. Nothing extraordinary has to be 
fought for. The living must merely be set free. When reality is comprehended, the age-old 
dream can become reality. In this arsenal of freedom, we find: 

A living, spontaneous knowledge of the natural laws of life, a knowledge that men and 
women of all ages, every social situation and every colour of skin have. What has to be 
eliminated is the thwarting and distortion of this knowledge by hard, rigid mechanical- 
mystical views and institutions, which are hostile to life. 

The natural work relationships of men and women and their natural pleasure in work 
are full of energy and promise. What has to be eliminated is the thwarting of natural 
work-democracy by arbitrary, authoritarian restrictions and regulations, which are hostile 
to life. 

Natural sociability and morality are present in men and women. What has to be 
eliminated is the disgusting moralization which thwarts natural morality and then points 
to the criminal impulses, which it itself has brought into being. 

As no other war, the present war is eliminating many obstacles to natural self- 
regulation, the elimination of which appeared inconceivable in times of peace, e.g., the 
authoritarian relegation of the woman to the kitchen, wild business dealings, rank 
exploitation, artificial national boundaries, etc. We do not belong to those who contend 
that wars are necessary for the development of human culture. It is like this: The 
mechanical, mystical and authoritarian organization of human society and of the human 
structure constantly precipitates the mechanical destruction of human lives in war. That 
which is living and free in man and in society rebels against this. Since the biological 
crippling of man and society surpasses all bounds in war that which is truly alive is 

forced to make efforts it would not have been capable of making under less vicious 
circumstances, for it had not previously comprehended itself. 

At this point a justified objection will be raised, namely: 

We admit that for the past thousands of years man has allowed his body to become 
more and more like a machine and his thinking to become more and more irrational, 
especially since he fell under the influence of machine production. But we fail to see how 
it is possible to undo the mechanical degeneration of the organism and to liberate man’s 
self-regulatory forces, if masses of people continue to live under the pressure and 
influence of the machine. No reasonable person will demand or expect us to abolish the 
machine civilization. The biologically destructive influences of machine technology are 
not offset by any significant counterbalance. Facts more tangible than scientific 
expositions are needed to rid man of his biologic rigidity. It is more likely that this war, 
by making human activity more rigid and more thoughtless, will increase, not eliminate, 
biologic rigidity. 

This objection is entirely correct. With man’s present technical means, there is indeed 
no prospect of undoing the devious biologic development of the race of animals called 
man. In fact it took me a long time to decide to publish the insight I had obtained into the 
biologic reproduction of the machine civilization. I told myself that it could serve no 
purpose to proclaim truths that could have no practical effect. 

The way out of this painful dilemma offered itself spontaneously when I asked myself 
how I had arrived at the functional formulations in psychiatry, sociology and biology, 
formulations that so successfully succeeded in clarifying the mechanization and the 
mysticism in these three fields and were capable of replacing this mechanization and 
mysticism. I do not regard myself as some sort of exceptional superman. I am not much 
different from the average man. How, then, did I manage to hit upon the solution that had 
eluded others? Gradually it became clear that my professional involvement with the 
problem of biologic energy over several decades had forced me to free myself from 
mechanistic and mystical views and methods. If I had not freed myself from these views 
and methods, I would not have been able to perform my work on the living organism. In 
short, my work forced me to learn to think functionally. If I had cultivated solely the 
mechanical-mystical structure that my education had inculcated in me, I would not have 
discovered a single fact of orgone biophysics. However, the hidden path to the discovery 
of the orgone was discerned the moment I set foot in the prohibited domain of orgastic 
plasma contraction. In retrospect, I saw that I had got past any number of critical points in 
this development which could have diverted me from the living, functional way of 
looking at things to the mechanical-mystical view of the world. I have no idea how I 
managed to escape the pitfalls. It is certain that the functional view of life, which contains 
so many essential answers to the present chaos, was nourished by my work with biologic 
energy, i.e., orgone energy. 

The ignorance of the laws of biological functioning was responsible for mechanization 
and the substitution of mysticism for living reality. However, cosmic orgone, i.e., the 
specific biologic energy in the universe, does not function mechanistically, and it is not 
mystical. This orgone energy follows its own specific functional laws, which cannot be 
comprehended materially, mechanistically or rigidly, nor in concepts of positive and 
negative electric fluids. It obeys functional laws, such as attraction, disassociation, 

expansion, contraction, radiation, pulsation, etc. I doubt that orgone energy is suited for 
any kind of killing, and hence of any use to the mechanistic technique of murder. This 
war or the next war will enormously increase the need of life-securing functions. The 
orgonotic radiation is no mean contribution on the part of sex-economy to the further 
development of the human race. Sooner or later, larger and larger groups and circles will 
familiarize themselves with the functions of orgone. In the process of working with the 
cosmic life energy, men and women will be forced to learn to think in functional, living 
terms in order to be able to master cosmic orgone. In the same way, they learned to think 
in psychological terms when the doors to the knowledge of childhood sexuality were 
opened and to think in economic terms when the economic laws were discovered. In the 
process of comprehending and mastering the mechanistic laws of inanimate nature, man 
himself was forced to become mechanically rigid. In the same way, as each new 
generation masters the orgonotic functions of life to an ever-increasing degree, it will 
comprehend the living and learn to love, protect and develop it. This analogous con- 
clusion is definitely justified. 

Therefore, I ask you not to confuse this line of reasoning with the proclamation of 
messianism. As I have stressed again and again in many of my writings, I regard myself 
as a ‘worm in the universe’ and as the mere tool of a certain scientific logic. That great 
delusive characteristic that helps the plague-ridden general to accomplish his criminal 
deeds is definitely missing in my case. I lack the conviction of being a superman, and it’ 
follows from this that I also lack the conviction that the masses are racially inferior. The 
far-reaching conclusion I drew from the discovery of orgone for the social problem of 
man’s biological desolation is a modest but true conclusion, comparable perhaps to the 
conclusion that the earth’s force of gravity can be overcome by filling a balloon with a 
gas specifically lighter than air. I do not, as many of my friends expect, have a remedy 
which would enable us to effect immediate political changes. Facts such as ‘biologic and 
natural self -regulation’ , ‘natural work-democracy’, 1 cosmic orgone’, ‘genital character’, 
etc., are weapons that sex-economy has put at the disposal of the human race for the 
purpose of eradicating enslaving conditions, such as ‘biologic rigidity’, ‘character and 
muscular armouring’, ‘pleasure anxiety’, ‘orgastic impotence’, ‘formal authority’, 
‘enslavement to authority’, ‘social irresponsibility’, ‘incapacity for freedom’, etc. It is of 
the very nature of this work that it was done with pleasure, pleasure in research and 
discovery, pleasure in the perception of nature’s spontaneous decency and wisdom. It was 
not done in the expectation of medals, riches, academic recognition and popularity, and 
certainly not from any sadistic pleasure in torture, suppression, the procreation of lies and 
deception, the conduct of war and the killing of life. That’s all! 


On Natural Work-Democracy 


The material I want to present in this chapter is general and spontaneous human 
knowledge, a knowledge that is not socially organized and, therefore, has not yet been 
able to evolve and have a practical effect on the general public. 

Social events have once again been caught up in the flux of enormous convulsions. 
The world over, people are asking: Where do we go from here? What’s to be done now? 
Which party, which cabinet, what kind of political group, will assume the responsibility 
for the future fate of European society? I have no answer to these questions, which are on 
everyone’s lips. Nor is it the intent of this chapter to offer political suggestions. Its sole 
intent is to draw attention to a concrete, practical and rational fact, which will not be 
referred to in the many political debates on how the world is to be organized after the 
war. It is the fact that has been designated as natural work-democracy. Now I want to 
describe what natural work-democracy is; please note, what it is and not what it should 

In 1937, i.e., two years before the outbreak of the Second World War, as the storm 
clouds were gathering over Europe, a pamphlet entitled ‘The natural organization of work 
in work-democracy’, appeared in Scandinavia. It did not bear the name of its author. It 
was merely stated that it had been written by a laboratory worker with the consent of 
other men and women engaged in practical work in this field. It appeared in German, not 
in a printed form, but merely mimeographed. Later it was translated into English. It was 
not widely circulated, for it was not backed up by any political propaganda apparatus and 
had no political pretensions. But it was acclaimed wherever it was read. It was circulated 
in small circles in Paris, Holland, Scandinavia, Switzerland and Palestine. Several 
dozen copies were also smuggled across the German border. It was reviewed only once, 
in a German Socialist weekly in Paris; otherwise, it did not cause the slightest stir. Far 
from playing a revolutionary role in the political events of that time, it was soon lost in 
the turmoil. Nor, for that matter, was it a political pamphlet; quite the contrary, it was a 
pamphlet against politics, written by a working man. Yet, somehow two things stuck in 
one’s mind, and they were brought up again and again - en passant, one might almost say 
- in discussions among men and women of various political orientations and occupations. 
One thing was the word ‘work-democracy’. The other was two sentences. They sounded 
unworldly, alienated from politics, Utopian, and, at bottom, hopeless: ‘Enough, let’s have 
done with politics once and for all I “Let’s get down to the practical tasks of real life!’ 

Strangely enough, the political newspaper, which accorded the pamphlet a long article, 
also centred its critique around the word ‘work-democracy’ and around those sentences 
that read like a slogan. The article took a sympathetic attitude towards work-democracy, 
but flatly rejected the slogan. This contradiction showed those who were familiar with the 
pamphlet that it had not been really understood. Apparently, the pamphlet had been 
written by a former socialist. It clearly detached itself from all Socialist party methods 
and concerns. In contradiction to its basic slogan, however, it was full of political 
formulations and political discussions. 

In spite of its deficiencies and its lack of clarity, it was enthusiastically read by a 
German socialist and smuggled into Germany. In the ensuing six years of war, nothing 
more was to be heard about it. In 1941, however, a continuation of this first pamphlet 
appeared under the title, ‘Additional problems of work-democracy’. Like its predecessor, 

it too was smuggled into several European countries, and was even ‘intercepted’ by the 
American secret police, the FBI. 

The word work-democracy gained a permanent footing in the circles of the entirely 
informal sex-economists and vegeto-therapists. The word began a life of its own. It was 
used more and more frequently; one spoke of work-democratic institutions, ‘work- 
family’, etc., and one began to think about these things in a serious way. In the middle of 
the chaos of war, a letter arrived from an occupied European country; in this letter, a sex- 
economist wrote that the pamphlet had been translated and was ready for immediate 
circulation as soon as circumstances allowed. 

In the course of the last four years of the war, I delved into the conceptual content of 
work-democracy. I made an effort to comprehend and elaborate on the content of the 
word. In this effort I relied upon discussions which I had had in Norway with friends of 
various occupations. The more I immersed myself in this concept, the more clearly I saw 
its outlines, the more completely and forcefully I perceived its substance, and finally I 
had a picture that coincided perfectly with a large number of neglected but decisive 
sociological facts. 

As well as I can, I want to describe what this picture purports. I have no intention of 
engaging in any kind of propaganda for it. Nor do I have the intention of engaging in 
time-consuming debates about it. 

What follows is what I have come to understand by natural work-democracy. 


A medical student who wants to be admitted to the medical profession must offer 
satisfactory proof of his practical and theoretical knowledge of medicine. On the other 
hand, a politician who takes it upon himself to determine the fate, not of hundreds, as the 
medical student, but of millions of working men and women, is not required in our 
society to prove his qualifications and knowledge. 

It is this circumstance that seems to be one of the essential causes of the social tragedy 
that has pockmarked the society of human animals for thousands of years with individual 
acute outbreaks. Let us pursue this briefly described contradiction as well and as far as 
we can. 

The man who performs practical work in any fields whatever, whether he comes from 
a rich or poor family, has to go through a definite schooling. He is not elected by’ the 
people’. Experienced workers whose skills have been tested over a long period must 
determine in a more or less thorough way whether the apprentice in their field is qualified 
to perform his or her job professionally. This is the demand, even if it often runs ahead of 
the facts. It gives the direction in any event. In America, this demand has been carried to 
such an extreme that a salesgirl in a department store has to have a university education. 
As exaggerated and as socially unjust as this demand may be, it shows clearly just how 
much social pressure is exerted on the simplest work. Every shoemaker, cabinet-maker, 
turner, mechanic, electrician, stone mason, construction worker, etc., has to fulfil strict 

A politician, on the other hand, is free of any such demands. One need merely possess 
a good dose of cunning, neurotic ambition and will to power, coupled with brutality, in 
order to take over the highest positions of human society when suitable chaotic social 
conditions arise. In the past twenty-five years we have witnessed how a mediocre 
journalist was capable of brutalizing the fifty-million-strong Italian nation and finally 
reducing it to a state of misery. For twenty-two years there was a great fuss about 
nothing, coupled with much blood and thunder, until one day the hubbub faded out 
without a flourish. And one was overcome by the feeling: And all to no avail! What 
remained of this great tumult, which had made the world hold its breath and had torn 
many nations out of their accustomed life? Nothing - not a single, permanent thought; not 
a single, useful institution; not even a fond memory. Facts such as this show more clearly 
than anything else the social irrationalism that periodically brings our life to the brink of 
the abyss. A young house painter who fails miserably in his choice of profession is 
capable, also for a period of twenty years, of having himself talked about the world over, 
without having 1 accomplished a single, useful, objective, practical piece of work. In this 
case, also, it is a tremendous noise that one day quietly fades away into an ‘all to no 
avail’. The world of work continues on its calm, quiet, vitally necessary course. Of the 
great tumult, nothing remains but a chapter in falsely oriented history books, which are 
only a burden to our children. 

If one take the trouble to ferret them out, one will find unprecedented consequences 
for practical social life in this clear-cut antipathy between work and politics, this 
antipathy that is intelligible to everyone and that every working man and woman has long 
since been aware of. First and foremost, these consequences relate to the system of 
political parties that determines the ideologic and structural formation of the human 
animal everywhere on this earth. It is not our purpose here to enter into the question of 
how the present system of political parties developed from the first patriarchal-hierarchal 
European and Asian systems of government. What is important here is solely the effect of 
the system of political parties on the development of society. The reader will have 
already divined that natural work-democracy is a social system that already exists. It does 
not have to be established, and it bears the same relationship to the system of political 
parties as water bears to fire. 

The contradiction between work and politics leads us on as follows: The elucidation 
and elimination of chaotic conditions, whether in a social, animal or dead organism, 
require lengthy scientific work. Without going into details, let us briefly designate as 
scientific that man who performs some kind of vitally necessary work that requires the 
comprehension of facts. In this sense of the word a lathe operator in a factory is scientific, 
for his product is based on the fruits of his own work and research as well as the work 
and research of others. Now let us contrast this scientific man with the mystic, including 
the political ideologist. 

Every scientific person, whether he is an educator, lathe operator, technician, 
physician, or something else, has to fulfil and safeguard the social work process. Socially, 
he has a very responsible position: He has to prove each one of his assertions in a 
practical way. He has to work industriously, to think, to seek out new ways of improving 
his work, to recognize errors. As a researcher he has to examine and refute false theories. 
Whenever he succeeds in accomplishing something fundamentally new, he has to 
contend with human viciousness and fight his way through. He has no need of power, for 

no motors can be constructed with political power, no sera can be produced with it, no 
children can be brought up, etc. The working, scientific man lives and operates without 

Compared with the working man and woman, the mystic and political ideologist has 
an easy social position. No one demands proof for their assertions. They can promise to 
bring down God from Heaven, to raise the Devil from Hell and to establish paradise on 
earth from their ministerial buildings, and in all this they know very well that they will 
not be called to account for fraud. Their wild assertions are protected by the inviolable 
democratic right of free speech. If we think about it very carefully, we find that there 
must be something wrong with the concept of ‘free speech’, when it is possible for a 
foiled painter to use this right to conquer in a completely legal way and in the course of a 
few years a position in the world that has never in human history fallen to the share of the 
great pioneers of science, art, education and technology. It clearly follows from this that 
our thinking in social matters is catastrophically wrong in a certain area and requires 
radical correction. On the basis of careful sex-economic clinical investigations, we know 
that it is the authoritarian upbringing of little children, the teaching them to be fearful and 
submissive, that secures for the political power monger the slavery and the gullibility of 
millions of adult industrious men and women. 

Let us pursue the contradiction between work and politics in another direction. The 
following motto always appears on the tide page of the Orgone Institute’s official 
publication: ‘Love, work and knowledge are the source of human existence. They should 
also govern it! Without the function of natural love between husband and wife, mother 
and child, co-workers, etc., without work and without knowledge, human society would 
fall to pieces overnight. It is not incumbent upon me as a physician to make allowances 
for some political ideology or another or for some current diplomatic necessity, no matter 
how important it may appear. It is my task solely to elucidate important but unknown 
facts. And it is a fact, however embarrassing it may be, that none of the three basic 
functions of social life is affected by universal suffrage and the secret ballot, or ever had 
an effect in the history of parliamentary democracy. On the other hand, political 
ideologies, which have nothing to do with the functions of natural love, work or 
knowledge, enjoy unhampered and unlimited access to every kind of social power on the 
basis of universal suffrage and the party system. Let me hasten to make it clear that I am 
and have always been for universal suffrage. This does not alter the firmly established 
fact that the social institution of universal suffrage of parliamentary democracy in no way 
coincides with the three basic functions of social existence. It is left to chance whether 
the basic social functions are safeguarded or damaged by parliamentary vote. There is no 
stipulation in the legislation of parliamentary democracy that accords love, work and 
knowledge any kind of prerogative in the regulation of the fate of society. This 
dichotomy between democratic suffrage and basic social functions has catastrophic 
repercussions on the basis of social processes. 

I want only to mention the many institutions and laws that explicitly hamper these 
functions. I don’t think that any scientific or political group has ever clearly and sharply 
pointed out this basic contradiction in a way that would be intelligible to everyone. And 
yet, it constitutes the core of the bio-social tragedy of the human animal. The system of 
political parties does not at all fulfil the conditions, tasks and aims of human society. This 
is clearly and plainly shown by the fact, one of many that a shoemaker cannot simply 

decide to be a tailor, a physician to be a mining engineer and a teacher to be a cabinet- 
maker. On the other hand, a Republican in America can become a Democrat from one 
day to the next without undergoing any objective change in his thinking; and in Germany 
before Hitler, a Communist could simply become a Fascist, a Fascist a Communist, a 
Liberal a Communist or Social Democrat and a Social Democrat a German National or 
Christian Socialist. Such changes were capable of strengthening or weakening the 
ideology of the party programme of any of the respective parties; in short, they were 
capable of deciding the fate of a whole nation in the most unconscionable way. 

This clearly shows polities’ irrational nature and its antithesis to work. I do not want to 
go into the question whether the political parties ever had an objective and rational basis 
in the social body. It has no relevance here. The political parties of today have nothing 
concrete to say. The practical and positive events of a society have nothing to do with 
party boundaries or party ideologies. Something like Roosevelt’s New Deal is a proof of 
this. So-called party coalitions are makeshifts in default of an objective orientation, a 
bridging of difficulties without really solving anything. Firmly established realities 
cannot be mastered with opinions, which are changed as one changes one’s shirt. 

These initial steps in the clarification of the concept of work-democracy have already 
yielded a number of important insights into the social chaos. This obligates us to follow 
up our train of thought on natural work-democracy. It would be an inexcusable omission 
not to do so. For no one can foresee where and when human thinking will disclose the 
answer to the chaos produced by politics. Thus, we shall follow the path we have taken, 
as one might look for a suitable settlement site in a primeval forest. 

Even this attempt to orient oneself in social chaos must be regarded as a piece of 
practical and rational work. Since natural work-democracy is based on work and not on 
politics, it is possible that this ‘work on the social organism’ might lead to a practical and 
applicable result. It would be the first time that work got control of social problems. And 
this work would be work-democratic, insofar as it might induce other sociologists, 
economists, psychologists, to work on the social organism. Since this work attacks 
politics as a principle and as a system, there can be no doubt that it will be countered with 
political ideologies. It will be interesting and important to see how work-democratic 
sociology will stand up in practice. Work-democracy, as far as I understand it, counters 
political ideologies with the point of view of social function and social development, in 
short, with facts and possibilities. It does not counter them with another political view. It 
follows an approach similar to the one followed in the field of morality: Sex-economy 
deals with the damages caused by compulsive morality, not, as is politically customary, 
with another kind of morality, but with concrete knowledge and practical data on the 
natural function of sexuality. In other words, work-democratic socio-economy will have 
to prove itself in practical life, just as the assertion that steam contains energy is proven 
by the locomotion of engines. Thus, we have no reason whatever to engage in ideological 
or political arguments concerning the existence or non-existence of work-democracy, its 
practical applicability or non-applicability, etc. 

The working men and women who think and act in a work-democratic way do not 
come out against the politician. It is not his fault or his intention that the practical result 
of his work exposes the illusionary and irrational character of politics. Those who are 
engaged in practical work, regardless what field they are in, are intensely concerned with 

practical tasks in the improvement of life. Those who are engaged in practical work are 
not against one thing or another. It is only the politician who, having no practical tasks is 
always against and never for something. Politics in general is characterized by this ‘being 
against’ one thing or another. That which is productive in a practical way is not 
accomplished by politicians, but by working men and women, whether it is in accord 
with the politicians’ ideologies or not. Years of experience have dearly demonstrated that 
the men and women who perform practical work always come into conflict with the 
politician. Thus, those who worker living functioning are and operate against politics, 
whether they want to or not. The educator is for the objective upbringing of small 
children; the farmer is for the machines necessary in agriculture; the researcher is for 
proofs for scientific findings. One can easily satisfy oneself that wherever a working man 
or woman is against this or that achievement, he or she is not speaking up as a worker, 
but under the pressure of political or other irrational influences. 

It sounds improbable and exaggerated to say that a positive accomplishment of work is 
never against, but always for something. The reason for this is that our work life is inter- 
fused with irrationally motivated expressions of opinion, which are not differentiated 
from objective evaluations. For instance, the farmer is against the worker and the worker 
is against the engineer. This or that physician is against this or that drug. It will be said 
that democratic free speech means that one is ‘for’ and ‘against’. It is my contention, on 
the other hand, that it was precisely this formalistic and non-objective comprehension of 
the concept of free speech that was chiefly responsible for the failure of the European 
democracies. Let us take an example: A physician is against the use of a certain drug. 
There can be one of two reasons for this: 

Either the drug is really harmful and the physician is conscientious. In this case, the 
manufacturer of the drug did poor work. His work was not crowned with success and, 
evidently, he was not motivated by strong objective interests to produce an effective and 
harmless drug. The manufacturer did not have the function of the drug in mind, but was 
motivated, let us say, by pecuniary interests, i.e., was irrationally motivated. The motive 
did not suit the purpose. In this case the physician acted in a rational way. He spoke up in 
the interest of human health, that is to say, he was automatically against a bad drug 
because he is for health. He acted rationally, for the goal of work and the motive of the 
expression of opinion are in accord with one another. 

Or the drug is a good one and the physician is unscrupulous. If this physician is 
against a good drug, his action is not motivated by an interest in human health. Perhaps 
he has been paid by a rival firm to advertise a different drug. He does not fulfil his work 
function as a physician; the motive for the expression of his opinion has no more to do 
with its content than it has to do with any work function. The physician speaks out 
against the drug because secretly he is tot profit and not for health. But profiteering is not 
the purpose of a physician’s work. Hence, he speaks out strongly ‘against’ something and 
not ‘for’ it. 

We can apply this example to any other field of work and any kind of expression of 
opinion. We can easily satisfy ourselves that it is an inherent part of the rational work 
process always to be for something. The ‘being against’ something ensues not from the 
work process itself, but from the fact that there are irrational functions of life. It follows 

from this that: In terms of its nature, every rational work process is spontaneously 
against irrational functions of life. 

The attentive reader who is not unfamiliar with the ways of the world will readily 
agree that this clarification of the concept of free speech invests the democratic 
movement with a new and better point of view. The principle: What is harmful to the 
interests of life is poor work, hence not work at all imbues the concept of work- 
democracy with a rational meaning, a meaning that is lacking in the concept of formal or 
parliamentary democracy. In formal democracy the farmer is against the worker and the 
worker is against the engineer because political and not objective interests predominate in 
the social organization. If responsibility is shifted from the politician, not to the working 
men and women, but to work, then cooperation between farmer and worker automatically 
takes the place of political opposition. 

We shall have to pursue this idea further, for it is of decisive importance. To begin 
with, we want to dwell upon the question of so-called democratic criticism, which also 
rests upon the democratic right of free speech. 


The work-democratic way of life insists upon the right of every working man and 
woman to free discussion and criticism. This demand is justified, indispensable and 
should be inviolable. If it is not fulfilled, die source of human productivity is easily dried 
up. Owing to the effects of the general emotional plague, however, ‘discussion’ and 
‘criticism’ become more or less grave jeopardise to serious work. We want to illustrate 
this with an example: 

Let us imagine an engineer who is having a difficult time repairing a defective motor. 
It is a complicated piece of work; the engineer must exercise every bit of his intelligence 
and energy to master the difficulty. He sacrifices his leisure hours of pleasure and works 
until late in the night. He grants himself no rest until he has finished his job. After a while 
an unconcerned man comes along, looks on for a bit, then picks up a stone and smashes 
the conducting wires. That morning his wife had nagged him at the breakfast table. 

Another completely unconcerned man comes along; he derides the engineer. He tells 
him that he, the engineer, knows nothing about motors, otherwise he would have had it 
repaired long ago. And just look at how filthy he is - his body is literally covered with 
sweat and grease. And that isn’t all. He is an immoral man also, for otherwise he would 
not leave his family at home alone. Having insulted the engineer to his heart’s content, he 
moves on. That morning he had received a letter from his firm informing him that he is 
being dismissed from his job as an electrical engineer. He is not a very good worker in 
his field. 

A third totally unconcerned man comes along, spits in the engineer’s face and moves 
on. His mother-in-law, who has a special talent for torturing people, had just given him a 
hard time. 

The intent of these examples is to illustrate the ‘criticism’ of unconcerned passers-by, 
who, like highwaymen, wantonly disturb honest work, a piece of work about which they 

know nothing, which they do not understand and which does not concern them. These 
examples are typical of a good portion of what is known as ‘free discussion’ and the 
‘right of criticism’ in wide sectors of society. The attacks of the hereditary school of 
psychiatrists and cancer theoreticians on the, at that time, still-embryonic bion research 
was of this nature. They were not interested in helping and improving, but merely in 
wantonly disrupting a difficult job. They of course did not betray their motives. Such 
‘criticism’ is harmful and socially dangerous. It is prompted by motives that have nothing 
to do with the matter being criticized, and it has nothing to do with objective interests. 

Genuine discussion and genuine criticism are different. Again we want to illustrate 
this with an example: 

Another engineer passes by the garage where the first engineer is working on the 
motor. With his wealth of experience in this field, he immediately sees that the first 
engineer has his hands full. He takes off his jacket, rolls up his sleeves and attempts, first 
of all, to comprehend any mistakes in his approach. He points out an important place the 
first engineer had overlooked; they both consider the error that may have been made in 
the work. He gives the first engineer a hand, discusses and criticizes the work, and helps 
to do it better. He is not motivated by the nagging of his mother-in-law or his failure in 
his own profession, but by an objective interest in the success of the work. 

The two kinds of criticism described above are often difficult to distinguish from one 
another. Irrational cavilling is often very cunningly disguised behind sham objectiveness. 
These two kinds of criticism, which are so different from one another, are usually 
included under the one concept ‘scientific criticism’. 

In the strict objective and scientific sense of the word, only so-called immanent 
criticism is admissible, that is to say, the person exercising criticism must first fulfil a 
number of demands before assuming the right to criticize: 

1. He himself must have a complete grasp of the field of work that he criticizes. 

2. He must know this field at least as well as, if not better than, the one whom he 

3. He must have an interest in seeing the work succeed - not in seeing it fail. If he is 
merely intent upon disrupting the work, if he is not motivated by objective interests, then 
he is a neurotic grumbler, but not a critic. 

4. He has to exercise his criticism from the point of view of the field of work under 
criticism. He cannot criticize from an alien point of view, i.e., from a point of view that 
has nothing to do with the field of work. Depth psychology cannot be criticized from the 
point of view of surface psychology, but surface psychology can be criticized from the 
point of view of depth psychology. The reason for this is simple. Depth psychology is 
forced to include surface psychology in its investigations. Hence, it is conversant with it. 
Surface psychology, on the other hand, is precisely that, surface psychology; it does not 
look for biologic motives behind psychic phenomena. 

We cannot criticize an electric machine from the point of view of a machine that has 
the function of heating a room. The thermal theory plays a part in the electric machine 
only insofar as it enables the electrical engineer to prevent the overheating of the electric 
motor. And in this respect, the helpful suggestions of a thermal theorist are definitely 

welcomed by the electrical engineer. But it would be ridiculous to blame the electro 
machine for not being able to heat a room. 

It follows from this that sex-economy, which wants to liberate the natural sexuality of 
children, adolescents and adults from neuroses, perversions and criminality, cannot be 
criticized from the point of view of anti-sexual moralism, for the moralist wants to 
suppress and not to liberate the natural sexuality of children and adolescents. A musician 
cannot criticize a miner, and a physician cannot criticize a geologist. 

The sole purpose of these observations on criticism and cavilling has been to alleviate 
the position of young sex economists and orgone biophysicists towards critics 


The analysis of the concept of work-democracy has, as we see, led us into a sphere of 
human life that, though it has been ascribed enormous importance for thousands of years, 
has been looked upon as overwhelming and beyond mastery. It is the complicated and 
vast sphere of so-called ‘human nature’ . That which philosophers, poets, superficial 
politicians, but also great psychologists, designate and bemoan with the sentence’ that’s 
the way human nature is’ completely coincides with sex-economy’s clinical concept,’ 
emotional plague’. We can define it as the sum total of all irrational functions of life in 
the human animal. If ‘human nature’, which is conceived of as immutable, is identical 
with the emotional plague, and if, in turn, the emotional plague is identical with the sum 
total of all irrational functions of life in the human animal; if, moreover, the functions of 
work, in themselves and independent of man, are rational, then we are confronted with 
two enormous fields of human activity, which are mortally opposed to one another: 
vitally necessary work as the rational function of life on the one hand and the emotional 
plague as the irrational function of life on the other hand. It is not difficult to divine those 
work-democracy views as being a part of the emotional plagues all politics that is not 
based upon knowledge, work and love and that, therefore, is irrational. This is work- 
democracy’s answer to the timeless and age-old question of how we could finally come 
to grips with our ‘notorious’ human nature in a simple way: Education, hygiene and 
medicine, which have been grappling with the problem of human nature since time began 
without achieving satisfactory results, find in the rational function of vitally necessary 
work a powerful ally in the fight against the emotional plague. 

To follow work-democracy’s train of thought to the end, we must first of all wholly 
free ourselves from conventional political and ideological thinking. Only in this way is it 
possible to compare the fundamentally different train of thought that springs from the 
world of love, work and knowledge to the train of thought that springs from the world qf 
pomp and circumstance, of diplomatic and political conferences. 

The politician thinks in terms of ‘state’ and ‘nation’; the working man lives ‘sociably’ 
and ‘socially’. The politician thinks in terms of ‘discipline’ and ‘law and order’; the 
average working man experiences ‘pleasure of work’ and ‘order of work’, ‘regulation’ 
and ‘cooperation of work’. The politician thinks in terms of ‘morals’ and ‘duty’; the 
working man experiences or would like to experience ‘spontaneous decency’ and a 
‘natural feeling for Me’. The politician speaks of the ‘ideal of the family’; the working 

man enjoys or would like to enjoy the ‘love of husband, wife and children’. The 
politician speaks of the ‘interests of the economy and the state’; the simple working man 
wants ‘gratification of needs and an untrammelled food supply’. The politician speaks of 
the ‘free initiative of the individual’ and thinks of ‘profit’; the simple working man wants 
the freedom to try things on his own, the freedom to become what he is or could be. 

In an irrational way, the politician holds sway over precisely those spheres of life that 
the working man copes or could cope with in a rational way, if he were not severely 
hampered by political irrationalism. Though the irrational and rational labels relate to the 
same spheres of life, they are diametrically opposed to one another; they are not words 
that could be substituted for one another. In actual practice they are mutually exclusive. 
This is borne out by the fact that, throughout the history of human society, the 
authoritarian discipline of the state has always thwarted natural sociability and the 
pleasure of work; the state has thwarted society; the. Compulsive sacredness of the family 
has thwarted the love of husband, wife and children; compulsive morality has thwarted 
the natural decency that springs from the joy of life; and the politician has continually 
thwarted working men and women. Fundamentally, our society is ruled by concepts - by 
political-irrational concepts, let it be noted - that exploit human labour to compass 
irrational goals by force. Effective institutions are needed to secure freedom of action and 
development for the life activity of masses of people. The social basis for these 
institutions cannot be any old arbitrary, interchangeable political orientation or ideology; 
it can be only the social function of vitally necessary work as it results naturally from the 
interlacing of the various vitally necessary fields of work in the sphere of work as a 

Let us pursue work-democracy’s train of thought a step further into the thicket of 
entangled rational and irrational functions of life. In this pursuit we want to stick strictly 
to the logical sequence of thoughts and to exclude our personal interests as much as 
possible. To reach an applicable conclusion, we have to put ourselves, even in these 
considerations of the concept of work-democracy, in its position, i.e., we have to act as if 
we wanted to burden natural work-democracy with the responsibility for social existence. 
In short, we have to test its tenability from all angles in a strictly objective way. If we 
should allow our personal interests in some unnecessary activity or another to influence 
us, we would automatically exclude ourselves from the framework of this discussion. 

If there were nothing but the emotional plague in its various forms, the human species 
would have met its doom long ago. Neither political ideology nor mystical ritual, the 
military power apparatus nor diplomatic discussions, would be able, by themselves, to 
provide the population of any country with food, even for just an hour, to keep the traffic 
system running smoothly, provide living quarters, cure diseases, safeguard the rearing of 
children, ferret out nature’s secrets, etc. According to the work-democratic concept, 
political ideologies, mystic rituals and diplomatic manoeuvres are necessary only within 
the framework of social irrationalism. They are not necessary in the factual sphere of life, 
which is ruled by love, work and knowledge. These vitally necessary functions obey their 
own self-generated laws; they are not accessible to any irrational ideology. Love, work 
and knowledge are not ‘ideas’, ‘cultural values’, ‘political programmes’, ‘mental 
attitudes’ or ‘confessions of creed’. They are concrete realities, without which human 
society could not exist for a day. 

If human society were rationally organized, the priority of love, work and knowledge 
would be unquestioned; they, and not unnecessary institutions, would have the right to 
determine social existence. In accordance with the work-democratic conception, 
individual groups could arm themselves and kill one another; other groups could glory in 
mystical rituals, and still other groups could take delight in the discussion of ideologies. 
But they would not be able to dominate , exploit and lay claim to the basic biologic 
functions of society for their own selfish purposes. Moreover , they would not be able to 
deprive them of every right to exercise a determining influence. 

The social irrationalism in the attitude towards these two spheres of human activity is 

A politician is in a position to deceive millions of people, e.g., he can promise to 
establish freedom without actually having to do so. No one demands proof of his 
competence or of the feasibility of his promises. He can promise one thing today and the 
exact opposite tomorrow. Without let or hindrance, a mystic can imbue masses of people 
with the belief that there is a life after death - and he need not offer the least trace of 
proof. Let us now compare the rights of a politician or a mystic to the rights of a railroad 
engineer. The latter would be immediately put in jail or a mental institution if he would 
try to persuade as few as two dozen people who wanted to .travel from one town to 
another that he could fly to the moon. Let us further imagine that this same railroad 
engineer, armed with a gun now, insisted that his assertions were true and that he would 
have the waiting passengers locked up if they refused to believe him. The railroad 
engineer has to transport people from one place to another; he has to do so as practically 
and as safely as possible if he wants to hold his job. 

It is wholly immaterial whether an architect, physician, teacher, lathe operator, 
educator, etc., is a Fascist, Communist, liberal; or Christian when it comes to building a 
school, curing the sick, making a piece of furniture or taking care of children. No one of 
these workers can hold long speeches or make fantastic promises; he has to perform 
concrete, practical work. He has to place one brick upon another and, before he begins, 
he must give careful thought to and draw blueprints of the number of rooms a school is to 
have, where the ventilation and exits are to be placed, where the windows are to be and 
where the administration office and kitchen are to be placed. Liberal, social democratic, 
religious, fascist or communist ideologies are of no use whatever when it comes to 
performing practical work. No worker can afford to fritter away his time in idle chatter. 
Each worker must know what he has to do, and he must do it. But an ideologist can go on 
giving free rein to his fantasy, without ever performing one piece of solid work. Long 
after a group of politicians has completely bankrupted some country or another; it 
continues its threadbare ideologic debates in some other country. Real processes are 
totally foreign to the politician. Actually, there would be nothing to object to in this if the 
politicians would content themselves with debating among themselves and not try to 
impose their ideology on others, or even to determine the fate of nations. 

I once made the attempt of testing the above exemplified system of thought of work- 
democracy on myself. In 1933, when I began to divine the existence of a universal 
biologic energy as a hypothesis, if I had openly asserted that such an energy really did 
exist, that it was capable of destroying cancerous tumours, I would only have confirmed 
the diagnosis of schizophrenia that overzealous psychoanalysts had passed around and 

would have been confined to a mental institution. On the basis of my research in the field 
of biology, I could have promulgated any number of ideologies and could have founded a 
political party, let us say, a work-democratic freedom party. There is no doubt that I 
could have done this as well as others who had less practical experience. By virtue of my 
influence on people, it would have been an easy matter to surround myself with my own 
SS and to have thousands of people provided with work-democratic insignia. All of this 
would not have brought me one step closer to the problem of cancer or to a 
comprehension of the cosmic or oceanic feeling of the human animal. I would have 
firmly established a work-democratic ideology, but the naturally present, but as yet 
unperceived, process of work-democracy would have remained undiscovered. For years 
on end, I had to work very hard, to make observations, to correct mistakes, to overcome 
my own irrationalism as well as I could, to comprehend why biology is both mechanistic 
and mystical at the same time. I did not complain. I had to read books, to dissect mice, to 
deal with various materials in a hundred different ways, until I actually discovered 
orgone, until I was able to concentrate it in accumulators and make it visible. Only after 
this had been accomplished was I able to pose the practical aspect of the question, namely 
whether orgone contained curative effects. In this I was guided by the organic 
development of the work process. This means that every vitally necessary and practical 
work is a rational, organic development in itself, and it cannot be surmounted or 
circumvented in any way whatever. This formulation contains an essential biologic 
principle, which we call ‘organic development’. A tree must first have reached the height 
of one yard before it can reach the height of two yards. A child must first learn to read 
before he can find out what other people are saying in their writings. A physician must 
first study anatomy before he can understand pathology. In all these cases the 
development ensues from the organic progress of a work process. Working men and 
women are the functional organs of this work. He or she can be a good or poor 
functioning organ, but the work process itself does not undergo any fundamental change. 
Whether a man or woman is a good or poor functioning organ depends essentially upon 
the degree of irrationalism in his or her structure. 

As might be expected, this Taw of organic development’ is absent in irrational 
functions. In such functions the goal is there as an idea from the very beginning, long 
before any practical work is begun. The activity follows a fixed, preconceived plan; by its 
very nature, therefore, it has to be irrational. This is clearly and plainly shown by the fact 
that, of the world-famous irrationalists, literally nothing remains behind that could be put 
to use by posterity. 

Over thousands of years the law of organic development has been dearly manifested in 
all technical and scientific arts. Galileo’s achievements originated in the criticism of the 
Ptolemaic system and extended the work of Copernicus. Kepler took up the work of 
Galileo, and Newton took up the work of Kepler. Many generations of working and 
searching men and women were developed from each of these functional organs of 
objective natural processes. Of Alexander, the so-called Great, Caesar, Nero, Napoleon, 
on the other hand, nothing whatever remains behind. Nor do we find any trace of 
continuity among the irrationalists, unless the dream of a Napoleon to become a second 
Alexander or Caesar is regarded as continuity. 

In these men, irrationalism is completely exposed as a non-biologic and non-social, 
indeed anti-biologic and anti-social, function of life. It lacks the essential characteristics 

of the rational functions of life, such as germination, development, continuity, non- 
deviation of process, interlacing with other functions, fragmentation and productivity. 

Now let us apply these insights to the question whether the emotional plague can be 
fundamentally overcome. The answer is in the affirmative. No matter how sadistic, 
mystical, gossipy, unscrupulous, fickle, armoured, superficial and given to idle chatter 
human animals may be, they are naturally predisposed to be rational in their work 
functions. Just as irrationalism vents and propagates itself in ideological processes and 
mysticism, man’s rationality is confirmed and propagated in the work process. It is an 
inherent part of the work process and, therefore, an inherent part of man that he cannot be 
irrational ’ in his work function. By his very nature of work itself, he is forced to be 
rational. Irrationalism automatically excludes itself by virtue of the fact that it disrupts 
the work process and makes the goal of work unattainable. The sharp and irreconcilable 
opposition between the emotional plague and the work process is clearly expressed in the 
following: As a working man or woman, one can always come to an understanding with 
any technician, industrial worker, physician, etc., in a discussion on work functions. As 
soon as the conversation shifts to ideology, however, the understanding falls to pieces. It 
is indicative of so many dictators and politicians that they regularly give up their work 
when they enter the province of politics. A shoemaker who loses himself in mystical 
ecstasy and begins to think of himself as a saviour of the people, sent by God, will 
inevitably cut the soles the wrong way and mess up his stitches. As time goes on, he will 
be faced with starvation. It is precisely by this process, on the other hand, that the 
politician becomes strong and rich. 

Emotional irrationalism is capable only of disrupting work; it is never capable of 
accomplishing work. 

Let us examine this work-democratic train of thoughts from its own point of view. Are 
we dealing here with an ideology, a glorification or idealization ‘of work’? I asked 
myself this question in view of my task to teach physicians and educators. It is incumbent 
upon me as a physician, researcher and teacher to differentiate between vitally necessary, 
rational work and unnecessary, irrational ideology, i.e., to ascertain the rational and 
rationally effective character of work. I cannot help, one of my students of vegetotherapy 
to overcome a practical difficulty in his own structure or in his work with patients by 
feeding him hopes of a better beyond or by appointing him ‘Marshal of Vegetotherapy’. 
The title of Marshal of Vegetotherapy would not make him the least bit more capable of 
dealing with difficulties. By appointing him Marshal of Vegetotherapy, I would only 
endanger him and possibly even precipitate a disaster. I must tell him the whole truth 
about his weaknesses and shortcomings. I have to teach him to recognize them by 
himself. In this I am guided by the course of my own development and my practical 
experience. I do not have an ideology that compels me to be rational for ethical or other 
reasons. Rational behaviour is imposed upon me by my work in an objective way. I 
would starve if I did not strive to act rationally. I am immediately corrected by my work 
if I try to cover up difficulties with illusions; for I cannot eliminate a biopathic paralysis 
with illusions any more than a machinist, an architect, a farmer or teacher can perform his 
work with illusions. Nor do I demand rationality. It is objectively present in me, 
independent of what I am and independent of the emotional plague. I do not order my 
students to be rational, for that would serve no purpose. I teach them and advise them, in 
their own interest and in the light of practical work processes, to distinguish the rational 

from the irrational in themselves and in the world. I teach them to promote the former 
and to check the latter. It is a basic feature of the emotional plague in social life to escape 
the difficulties of responsibility and the actualities of everyday life and work by seeking 
refuge in ideology, mysticism, brutality or a political party. 

This is a fundamentally new position. It is not the rationality of work that is new, nor 
its rational effect on working men and women, but the fact that work is rational and has a 
rational effect in itself and of itself, whether I know it or not. It is better if I know it. Then 
I can be in harmony with the rational organic development. This is also a new position 
for psychology and sociology. It is new for sociology because, until now, sociology has 
looked upon society’s irrational activities as rational; and it is new for psychology 
because psychology did not doubt society’s rationality. 


The deeper one delves into the nature of natural work-democracy, the more villainy 
one discovers in human thinking, villainy caused by political ideologies. Let us try to 
elucidate this statement by examining the content of the concept of work. 

Thus far we have contrasted work and political ideology, equating work with 
‘rationality’ and political ideology with ‘irrationality’. But vital life is never mechanical. 
Thus, we catch ourselves setting up a new irrational black-white dichotomy. But this 
blunt dichotomization is justified insofar as politics is indeed essentially irrational and, 
compared with it, work is essentially rational. For instance, is the construction of a casino 
work? This example forces us to differentiate vitally necessary work from work that is 
not vitally necessary. Under the heading of ‘vitally necessary work’, we have to list every 
kind of work that is indispensable to the maintenance of human life and the social 
machinery. Hence, that work is vitally necessary the absence of which would be harmful 
to or would inhibit the living process. That work, on the other hand, the absence of which 
would not change the course of society and human life is not vitally necessary. We have 
to designate as non-work that activity that is detrimental to the life process. 

For centuries on end it has been precisely vitally necessary work that the political 
ideology of the ruling but nonworking classes has depreciated. On the other hand, it has 
represented non-work as a sign of noble blood. All socialist ideologies reacted to this 
appraisal with a mechanistic and rigid reversal of valuations. The socialists conceived of 
‘work’ as relating solely to those activities that had been looked down upon in feudalism, 
i.e., essentially to manual labour; whereas the activity of the ruling classes was 
represented as non-work. To be sure, this mechanical reversal of ideologic valuations was 
wholly in keeping with the political concept of the two economically and personally 
sharply demarcated social classes, the ruling and the ruled. From a purely economic point 
of view, society could indeed be divided into ‘those who possessed capital’ and ‘those 
who possessed the commodity, working power’ . From the point of view of bio-sociology, 
however, there could be no clear-cut division between one class and another, neither 
ideologically nor psychologically, and certainly not on the basis of work. The discovery 
of the fact that the ideology of a group of people does not necessarily have to coincide 
with its economic situation, indeed, that economic and ideologic situation are often 

sharply opposed to one another, enabled us to understand the fascist movement, which 
had remained uncomprehended until then. In 1930 it became dear that there is a 
‘cleavage’ between ideology and economy, and that the ideology of a certain class can 
develop into a social force, a social force that is not confined to that one class. 

It was first shown in connection with the suppression of the natural sexuality of 
children and adolescents that there are fundamental biologic functions of the human 
animal that have ‘nothing to do with the economic distribution of the classes and that 
class boundaries overlap and cut across one another. The suppression of sexuality relates 
not only to all strata and classes of every patriarchal society; it is precisely in the ruling 
classes that this suppression is often most pronounced. Indeed, sex-economy was able to 
show that a large part of the sadism made use of by the ruling class to suppress and 
exploit other classes is to be ascribed chiefly to the sadism that stems from suppressed 
sexuality. The connection between sadism, sexual suppression and class suppression is 
excellently expressed in De Coster’s famous Till Eulenspiegel. 

The real social functions of work also overlap and cut across the politico-ideological 
class boundaries. In the socialist parties there were many leading politicians who had 
never performed vitally necessary work and who knew nothing about the work process. A 
worker usually gave up his job when he became a political functionary. On the other 
hand, the classes that political socialism designated as the ‘ruling nonworking’ classes, as 
opposed to the workers, comprised essential bodies of workers. There is probably nothing 
more suited to demonstrate the blindness to reality of the typical political ideologies than 
the fact that the leading members of the political reaction, in Austria for example, were 
recruited from the circles of the University of Technology. These technicians were 
engineers in the coal mines, constructors of locomotives, aeroplanes, bridges, public 
buildings, etc. 

Now let us apply work-democracy’s criticism to the concept of the capitalist. In 
political ideology, the capitalist was either the ‘leader of economy’ or the ‘nonworking 
parasite’. Both conceptions were mechanical, ideological, politically unrealistic and 
unscientific. There are capitalists who work, and there are capitalists who do not work. 
There are capitalists whose work is vitally necessary and others whose work is 
unnecessary. A capitalist’s political orientation or ideology is wholly immaterial in this 
respect. The contradiction between work and politics relates to the capitalist as well as 
the wage earner, in one and the same person. Just as a stonemason can be a fascist, a 
capitalist can be a socialist. In short, we have come to realize that it is not possible to 
orient oneself in the social chaos on the basis of political ideologies. The possibility of a 
concrete reorientation is offered by work-democracy’s scope of ideas, which is based on 
a realistic appraisal of the concept of work. Accordingly, with respect to vitally necessary 
work, the political class of capitalists is divided into two groups, which are not only 
opposed but often antagonistic to one another: One group comprises those who possess 
capital and who neither work nor plan but make others work for their profit. A Henry 
Ford may hold this or that political view; ideologically, he may be an angel or a noxious 
person; but this does not alter the fact that he was the first American to construct an 
automobile and totally change the technical face of America. Politically and 
ideologically, Edison was undoubtedly a capitalist; but one would like to meet the 
political functionary of a workers’ movement who would not use the incandescent lamp, 
which Thomas Edison took great pains to invent, or who would dare to state publicly that 

Edison was a nonworking parasite of society. From the point of view of work-democracy, 
the same applies to the Wright Brothers, Junkers, Reichert, Zeiss. There are any number 
of names that could be added to this list. There is a dear distinction between these 
capitalists, who perform objective work, and the non-working capitalists, who merely 
exploit the fact that they possess capital. With respect to work, the latter do not constitute 
a special class type, for they are fundamentally identical to any socialist party bureaucrat 
who sits in this or that office, from which he determines ‘the policies of the working 
class’. We have had our fill of the catastrophic effects of the nonworking possessors of 
capital and the nonworking political functionaries. We know better than to orient 
ourselves on ideologic concepts; we have to orient ourselves on practical activities. From 
the point of view of vitally necessary work, many deeply ingrained political concepts, 
and the ‘political sciences’ dependent upon them, are supplemented and changed. The 
concept of ‘the worker’ has to be extended. The concept of economic classes is 
supplemented by the fact of the human structure, whereby the social importance of the 
economic classes is extremely reduced. 

In what follows, the essential changes are to be brought forward that have obtruded 
themselves upon concepts as a result of the fundamentally new social events and the 
discovery of the fact of natural work-democracy. I have no illusions about how these 
changes will be received: This and that political ideology will raise a loud, very dignified 
and high sounding cry. But this will not have any effect upon the reality of the facts and 
processes, whether force is applied or not. No matter how far-reaching a political process 
is, no matter how many hundreds of ‘ists’ are executed, the fact remains that a physician 
or a technician, educator or farmer, in America, India, Germany or elsewhere, performs 
vitally necessary work. In practical everyday life, moreover, they accomplish far more, 
for better or for worse, for the course of life processes than the Comintern as a whole 
even remotely accomplished since 1923. There was no change in the life of man when the 
Comintern was dissolved in 1943. But let us imagine that China or America would 
exclude all teachers or all physicians from the social process on a certain day! 

The history of the past twenty years leaves no doubt that the party ideologies 
advocating the ‘elimination of class differences’, ‘the establishment of national unity’, 
etc., not only did not effect any change in the existence of class differences, in the 
fragmentation of the human community and in the suppression of freedom and decency; 
they merely brought matters to a head, indeed to a catastrophic degree. Hence, the natural 
scientific solution of the social tragedy of the human animal must begin with the 
clarification and correction of those ideologic party concepts that perpetuate the 
fragmentation of human society. 

Work-democracy does not limit the concept of ‘the worker’ to the industrial worker. 
To avoid any misunderstanding, work-democracy calls everyone who performs vitally 
necessary social work a worker. The concept of the ‘working class’, a concept that was 
politically and ideologically limited to the body of industrial workers, estranged the 
industrial worker from the technician and educator, and it created a hostility among the 
representatives of the various vitally necessary work processes. Indeed, this ideology 
caused the medical and teaching professions to be subordinated to the ‘revolutionary 
proletariat’; they were designated as the ‘servants of the bourgeoisie’. Not only the 
medical and teaching professions, but also the industrial proletariat, objected to such 
relegation. This is understandable, for the objective and factual relationship and 

cooperation between the physician and the workers in an industrial centre are much 
deeper and more serious than the relationship between the industrial workers and those 
who wield political power. Since the working community and the interlacing of the 
various branches of vitally necessary work derive from the natural processes and are 
nourished by natural interests, they alone are in a position to counter political 
fragmentation. It is clear that when a vitally necessary group of industrial workers 
degrades an equally vital group of physicians, technicians or teachers to the status of 
‘servants’ and elevates itself to the status of ‘masters’, then the teachers, physicians and 
technicians fly into the arms of those who preach racial superiority because they do not 
want to be servants, not even ‘servants of the revolutionary proletariat’. 

And the ‘revolutionary proletariat’ flies into the arms of a political party or trade 
union, which does not burden them with any responsibility and imbues them with the 
illusion that they are the ‘leading class’. This does not alter the fact that this ‘leading 
class’, as has been clearly shown, is not in a position to assume responsibility and that it 
even goes so far as to practise racial hatred, as in America, where unions of white 
workers deny membership to black workers. 

All of this is the result of deeply ingrained ideological party concepts, under whose 
sway the community, which is produced by work, is suffocated. Hence, it is only the new 
concept of the worker, i.e., as a person -who performs vitally necessary work,, which is in 
a position to bridge the gap and to bring the social bodies into line with the organizations 
of vitally necessary work. 

There can be no doubt that this clarification of concepts will not be welcomed by the 
party ideologists. We can be just as certain that in the attitude towards this clarification of 
concepts, the ideologic chaff will be clearly and spontaneously separated from the 
practical wheat, this or that power apparatus notwithstanding. Those who affirm and 
advocate the natural work community, the basis for which is given by the interlacing of 
all vitally necessary work, will be practical wheat. On the other hand, those to whom 
party ideologies and concepts, i.e., ideologies and concepts that obstruct and hamper our 
society on all sides, are more important than the community of all working men and 
women, will make a big fuss under one pretext or another, and thus prove themselves to 
be chaff. But the clarification of these concepts will fall in with the naturally present 
knowledge surrounding these relationships and, therefore, with the need to arrange social 
life in accordance with the interrelation of all branches of work. 

In this discussion of the concept of the worker, I have merely followed the logic 
imposed on me by work-democratic thinking. I had to arrive at the above results, whether 
I wanted to or not. There is a very simple reason for this. Just at the time I was writing 
these pages, I had to have some signs and placards made up for Orgonon. I am not a 
carpenter, and therefore I am not able to make the placards myself. Nor am I a painter, so 
I cannot produce neat lettering. But we needed placards for our laboratory. Hence, I was 
forced to put myself in contact with a carpenter and a painter and, on terms of equality, 
discuss the best way of making and lettering the placards. I would not have been able to 
deal with this need without their experience and practical counsel. It was wholly 
immaterial whether or not I regarded myself as a very erudite academician and natural 
scientist; and it was just as immaterial whether the painter or carpenter held this or that „ 
‘view’ on fascism or the New Deal. The carpenter could not regard me as the ‘servant of 

the revolutionary proletariat”, nor could the painter .regard me as a highly superfluous 
‘intellectual’. The work process made it necessary for us to exchange knowledge and 
experience with one another. For instance, if the painter wanted to do a good job, he had 
to understand our symbol of the functional method of research. As it turned out, he 
glowed with enthusiasm for his work when he learned its meaning. From the painter and 
the carpenter, on the other hand, I learned a great deal about the arrangements of letters 
and the placards themselves, which had the purpose of correctly expressing the function 
of the Institute to the outside world. 

This example of the objective and rational interlacing of branches of work is clear 
enough to make more comprehensible the abysmal irrationalism that governs the 
formation of public opinion and thus burkes the natural process of work. The more 
concretely I sought to visualize the course of my work in relationship to other branches of 
work, the better I was able to comprehend work-democracy’s scope of thought. There 
was no doubt about it: The work process went well when I allowed myself to be 
instructed by microscope manufacturers and electrical engineers, and when they, in turn, 
allowed me to instruct them on the function of a lens or an electrical apparatus in their 
special orgone-physical use. I would not have been able to precede a single step in orgone 
research without the lens grinder and the electrical engineer. In turn, the electrical 
engineer and the lens grinder struggle hard with the unsolved problems of the theory of 
light and electricity, some aspects of which can hope for clarification by the discovery of 

I have described this obvious fact of the interrelation of the various branches of work 
at some length and in an intentionally primitive way because I had good reason to know 
that, as simple as all this is, it nonetheless appears to be strange and new to working men 
and women. To be sure, this sounds hard to believe, but it is true and it is understandable: 
The fact of the natural interrelationship and indissoluble interdependence of all work 
processes is not clearly and plainly represented in the thinking and feeling of working 
men and women. True enough, every working man and woman is automatically familiar 
with this interrelationship on the basis of his or her practical work, but it sounds strange 
when they are told that society could not exist without their work or that they are 
responsible for the social organization of their work. This gap between vitally necessary 
activity and the consciousness of one’s responsibility for this activity was created and 
perpetuated by the political system of ideologies. These ideologies are responsible for the 
hiatus between practical activity and irrational orientation in working men and women. 
This assertion also sounds peculiar and strange. But one can easily convince oneself of its 
veracity by picking up and studying very carefully any newspaper in Europe, Asia or 
anywhere else, regardless of date. It is only seldom and as if by chance that one finds 
anything about the basic principles and nature of the processes of love, work and 
knowledge, their vital necessity, their interrelationship, their rationality, their seriousness, 
etc. On the other hand, the newspapers are full of high politics, diplomacy, military and 
formal events, which have no bearing upon the real process of everyday life. In this way 
the average working man and woman are imbued with the feeling that actually they are of 
little significance, compared with the elevated, complicated and ‘clever’ debates on 
‘strategy and tactics’. The average working man and woman get the feeling that they are 
small, inadequate, superfluous, oppressed and not much more than an accident in life. 

The veracity of this assertion with respect to mass psychology can easily be tested. I have 
often carried out such tests and have always attained the same result: 

1. Some worker comes up with a good idea, which enables him to effect a 
considerable improvement in his work. We ask him to put his small or big discovery 
down in writing and to publish it. When we do so, we meet with a peculiar reaction. It is 
as if the worker, whose work is important and indispensable, wanted to creep into a shell. 
It is as if he wanted to say -and often he puts it into precisely these words - ‘Who am I to 
write an article? My work doesn’t count.’ This attitude on the part of the worker towards 
his work is a typical phenomenon of mass psychology. I described it very simply here, 
but this is its essence, and anyone can easily persuade himself that it is so. 

2. Now let us approach the editor of any newspaper. We’ll suggest that he reduce the 
formal, strictly political ‘questions of strategy and tactics’ to two pages of the newspaper 
and that he reserve the first and second pages of the newspaper for extensive articles on 
practical everyday questions of technology, medicine, education, mining, agriculture, 
factory work, etc. He will gaze at us devoid of all understanding and in complete 
perplexity, and he will have doubts about our state of mind. 

These two basic attitudes, i.e., that of masses of people and that of the moulders of 
public opinion, supplement and determine one another. The nature of public opinion is 
essentially political, and it has a low estimation of the everyday life of love, work and 
knowledge. And this is in keeping with the feeling of social insignificance experienced 
by those who love, work and have knowledge. 

However, a rational reassessment of the social conditions is out of the question as long 
as political irrationalism contributes 99 per cent, and the basic functions of social life 
contribute only 1 per cent, towards the formation of public opinion and, therefore, 
towards the formation of the human structure. A complete reversal of the relationship 
would be the minimal requirement if one wants to deprive political irrationalism of its 
power and to achieve the self-regulation of society. In other words: The factual process of 
life must also have an emphatic voice in the press and in the forms of social life, and it 
must coincide with them. 

In this extension and correction of political concepts, we encounter an argument that is 
difficult to counter. It runs as follows: Political ideologies cannot be simply eliminated, 
for workers, farmers, technicians, etc., determine the trend of society not only through 
their vitally necessary work, but also through their political ideologies! The Peasants’ 
War of the middle Ages was a political revolt that had a revolutionizing social effect. The 
Communist party in Russia changed the face of Russia. One cannot, it is stated, prohibit 
or prevent ‘politicizing’ and the formation of political ideologies. They too are human 
needs and have social effects, just as love, knowledge and work. These arguments are to 
be countered as follows: 

1. Work-democracy’s scope of thought does not want to prohibit or prevent anything. 
It is directed exclusively to the fulfilment of the biologic life functions of love, work and 
knowledge. When it is backed by some political ideology, then natural work-democracy 
is only promoted. But if a political ideology with irrational claims and assertions gets in 
the way, then work-democracy will act just as a lumberman would act who, in the 
process of felling a tree, is attacked by a poisonous snake. He will kill the snake to be 

able to continue his work unobstructed. He will not give up his lumberman’s job because 
there are poisonous snakes in the woods. 

2. It is true that political ideologies are facts that also have actual social effects and 
that they cannot be simply dismissed or talked away. However, it is work-democracy’s 
point of view that it is precisely these facts that constitute a terrible portion of the tragedy 
of the human animal. The fact that political ideologies are tangible realities is not a proof 
of their vitally necessary character. The bubonic plague was an extraordinarily powerful 
social reality, but no one would have regarded it as vitally necessary. A settlement of 
human beings in a primeval forest is a vitally important matter and a real and tangible 
social fact. But a flood is also such a fact. Who would equate the destructive force of a 
flood to the activities of the human settlement only because both of them have social 
effects? Yet, it was precisely our failure to differentiate between work and politics, 
between reality and illusion; it was precisely our mistake of conceiving of politics as a 
rational human activity comparable to the sowing of seeds or the construction of 
buildings that was responsible for the fact that a painter who failed to make the grade was 
able to plunge the whole world into misery. And I have stressed again and again that the 
main purpose of this book - which, after all, was not written merely for the fun of it - was 
to demonstrate these catastrophic errors in human thinking and to eliminate irrationalism 
from politics. It is an essential part of our social tragedy that the farmer, the industrial 
worker, the physician, etc., do not influence social existence solely through their social 
activities, but also and even predominantly through their political ideologies. For political 
activity hinders objective and professional activity; it splits every profession into inimical 
ideologic groups; creates a dichotomy in the body of industrial workers; limits the 
activity of the medical profession and harms the patients. In short, it is precisely political 
activity that prevents the realization of that which it pretends to fight for: peace, work, 
security, international cooperation, free objective speech, freedom of religion, etc. 

3. It is true that political parties sometimes change the face of a society. However, 
from the point of view of work-democracy we maintain that these are compulsive 
achievements. Originally, when Karl Marx began his critique of political economy, he 
was not a politician, nor was he a member of a party. He was a scientific economist and 
sociologist. It was the emotional plague in masses of people that prevented him from 
being heard; it was the emotional plague that caused him to fall into poverty and 
Wretchedness; it was the emotional plague that forced him to found a political 
organization, the notorious ‘Communist Alliance’, which he himself dissolved after a 
short time. It was the emotional plague that turned scientific Marxism into a Marxism of 
political parties, which no longer had anything to do with scientific Marxism and even 
bears a large share of the responsibility for the emergence of fascism. Marx’s 
exclamation that he was ‘not a Marxist’ is a precise confirmation of this fact. He would 
never have resorted to the founding of a political organization if rational, and not 
irrational, thinking were the rule in masses of people. True, political machinery was often 
a necessity, but it was a compulsive measure made necessary by human irrationalism. If 
work and social ideology were in accord with one another, if needs, the gratification of 
needs and the means of gratifying needs were identical with the human structure, there 
would be no politics, for then politics would be superfluous. When one does not have a 
house, one might be forced to live in a hollow tree trunk. A tree trunk may be better or 
worse than a house, but it is not a house. A decent home remains the goal, even if one is 

forced for a time to live in a tree. The elimination of politics and of the state from which 
it springs was precisely the goal that was forgotten by the founders of socialism. I know 
that it is embarrassing to be reminded of such things. It requires too much thought, 
honesty, knowledge, and self-criticism, for a physician to regard the main goal of his 
activity as the prevention of those diseases from the cure of which he makes a living. We 
shall have to regard as objective and rational sociologists those politicians who help 
human society to expose the irrational motivations of the existence of politics and its 
‘necessity’ so completely that every form of politics becomes superfluous. 

This work-democratic critique of politics does not stand alone. In America the hatred 
of political power mongering and the insights into its social harmfulness is widespread. 
From the Soviet Union we hear that there too the technocrats are prevailing more and 
more against the politicians. Perhaps, even the execution of leading Russian politicians 
by politicians has a social meaning that is concealed from all of us, despite the fact that 
we have learned to look upon these executions as the manifestation of political 
irrationalism and sadism. The politics of the European dictators was unrivalled for a 
whole decade. If one wants to recognize effortlessly the essence of politics, let one reflect 
upon the fact that it was a Hitler who was able to make a whole world hold its breath for 
many years. The fact that Hitler was a political genius unmasks the nature of politics in 
general as no other fact can. With Hitler, politics reached its highest stage of 
development. We know what its fruits were, and we know how the whole world reacted 
to them. In short, it is my belief that, with its unparalleled catastrophes, the twentieth 
century marks the beginning of a new social era, free of politics. Of course, it is 
impossible to foresee how much of a role politics itself will still play in the uprooting of 
the political emotional plague, and how much of the role will be played by the 
consciously organized functions of love, work and knowledge. 

End of book